Over the last few games, the Yankees had someone play hero. Whether it’d be Chasen Shreve and Blake Parker on the mound when the Yankees either already used Dellin Betances or Betances wasn’t effective. Brett Gardner catching a fly ball at the top of the wall to snatch the jaws of victory from the Toronto Blue Jays. Or even Brian McCann launching two homers in a single game.
However, the Yankees had a new hero last night after Tyler Austin launched a game winning home run to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4. The Yankees, who spent most of the season floundering between over and under .500, were nine games over .500 and had recently won their fifth straight contest.
In Spring Training, the Yankees roster had a different feel to it; Andrew Miller was still in the Yankees bullpen. Carlos Beltran was still the Yankees right fielder. Ivan Nova was competing with CC Sabathia for the final spot in the Yankees rotation, and Aroldis Chapman was slated to be the Yankees closer. So, it was quite a surprise when the Yankees dealt Miller, Beltran, Nova and Chapman prior to the trade deadline.
It wasn’t all bad; the Yankees were able to finally bring up Austin, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge, who all made an immediate impact with the ball club. Sanchez was on an outworldly tear both offensively and defensively in his first two weeks, and Judge showed glimpses of what he could do if he was the Yankees everyday right fielder. Austin was the latest to show what the Baby Bombers were capable of, by sending the Yankees home in the bottom of the ninth with a win.
Around July, the Yankees looked like they were throwing in the towel on their season with trades, and with the release of Alex Rodriguez just two weeks after the deadline. However, the Yankees showed resilience and ended up being in the thick of the American League division race. They’re two games from the second Wild Card spot and gained a half game on the Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox.
Do the Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jays really want to face off against the Yankees? Probably not, especially since the Yankees have a legitimate chance to overpower them and end up at the top of the American League East standings.