This MLB season has already been one of the craziest seasons in recent memory. One week after the season started, there were so many COVID cases that commissioner Rob Manfred threatened to end the season. But the game went on, and with this year's format of 16 playoff teams because of the shortened 60 game season, this postseason will probably be even more wild.
1. Tampa Bay Rays 2 ALDS
8. Toronto Blue Jays 0
1. Tampa Bay Rays 3
5. New York Yankees 2
4. Cleveland Indians 1
5. New York Yankees 2 ALCS
1. Tampa Bay Rays 4
2. Oakland A's 2
3. Minnesota Twins 2
6. Houston Astros 0
2. Oakland A's 3
3. Minnesota Twins 1
2. Oakland A's 2
7. Chicago White Sox 1
1. Los Angeles Dodgers 4
1. Tampa Bay Rays 2
1. Los Angeles Dodgers 2 NLDS
8. Milwaukee Brewers 0
1. Los Angeles Dodgers 3
4. San Diego Padres 0
4. San Diego Padres 2 NLCS
5. St. Louis Cardinals 1
1. Los Angeles Dodgers 4
2. Atlanta Braves 1
3. Chicago Cubs 2
6. Miami Marlins 0
2. Atlanta Braves 3
3. Chicago Cubs 2
2. Atlanta Braves 2
7. Cincinnati Reds 0
With baseball finally back in action after a messy hiatus, the New York Yankees have wasted no time proving why this year is their year. Despite averaging 98 wins over the last three seasons, they haven't been able to break through in the playoffs, losing to the eventual American League champion each year. But as of now the Yankees look World Series bound, as their 9-4 start is currently one of baseball's best records. Here's a look inside their hot start and expectations moving forward.
As I mentioned, the Yankees have been one of the best teams with their 9-4 start, and there's no luck to it. Their hot start includes a seven game win streak, featuring a sweep over the rival Boston Red Sox. At the center of this early season surge is none other than their 6'7" slugger Aaron Judge. He's been playing like an MVP, hitting .302/.362/.837, along with an amazing seven home runs. Six of those have come in five games with two game winners. Members who were injured last year like Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton are now healthy and making a difference again. It's particularly a good sight for the Yankees to see Stanton, who was out for the majority of last season, re emerge as one of the team's reliable hitters. But that doesn't mean last year's unexpected heroes have been a no-show. First baseman DJ LeMahieu is still one of the best contact hitters in baseball, leading the team with a .429 batting average. Third baseman Gio Urshela hasn't stopped making impossible throws while falling away, and also produces timely hits. The pitching unit improved thanks to Gerrit Cole's nine year, $324 million contract. So far, he's upped his 16 game win streak last season to 19 this year, and has shown no signs of stopping. The Yankees have also enjoyed the return of Masahiro Tanaka last week, and are awaiting the return of Aroldis Chapman to the bullpen.
There's no reason why the Yankees shouldn't be able to continue their success. Their A.L. foes, the Houston Astros and Red Sox, are still in disarray after the sign stealing scandals. This leaves the door wide open for the Yankees to finally appear in the World Series. There are some challenges, as they will have to play more playoff games due to this year's format of adding three teams into the playoff picture. But with the way they're playing right now, they don't have a lot of reason to be concerned about increased competition. Threats in the A.L. are scarce, as the Yankees swept the 10-4 Minnesota Twins in last year's divisional series. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are likely to be their World Series opponent, could be their biggest postseason challenge. Other than that, the Yankees are in a great position to become more than a contender to win a championship.
It's a very good time to be a Yankees fan. Their successful start brings a lot of hope toward a World Series and possibly a championship. The season could get cancelled if more COVID-19 outbreaks come from players on other teams, but cases were expected to occur even before the season started. All the Yankees can do, is focus on being safe, testing negative and play good baseball. So far, so good!
Events of the past several weeks have shown that there is profound social unrest in our country. Over centuries, African Americans have been discriminated against in many different ways, recently escalating with incidents of police brutality and violence. At least three African Americans - Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd - were killed by either the police or white civilians earlier this year. Thousands of protests are happening all over America as a way of responding to the injustice. As a result, many athletes have been using their social platform to create change, take a stand, and call for action.
Notable athletes have been vocal for change, using their platform to speak out. One of those players has been none other than LeBron James. He has made many social media posts expressing the difficulties of being an African American, letting people know the reasons for his activism, and stating that white people always command African Americans what to do. He made an emotional video with the sound of a basketball hitting the floor and as the ball hit the floor, a new white command would pop up. The captions went from "Shut up and dribble", which Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham told him back in 2018, to "Shut up and lay still." James concluded the video saying, "This is why we can't just stick to sports. Do you understand now?" Colin Kaepernick has probably earned the most praise from other athletes and coaches since he kneeled for the national anthem during the 2016 NFL season. His purpose was to draw attention to all of the racism and police brutality against African-Americans. He's now became a symbol of resistance to the unfair treatment of African Americans. Recently, he created a legal defense initiative called Know Your Rights Camp "for victims of excessive force by police terrorism and civil rights violations."
NFL and MLB players have created group videos for their own respective leagues condemning racism. The NFL video featured Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, Deshaun Watson, and others. All of the players pushed the NFL to make a statement condemning racism, saying "What will it take? For one of us to be brutally murdered by the police?" They named numerous African Americans who were killed, that could've been them. The video concludes with all of them stating, "On behalf of the National Football League this is what we, the players would like to hear you state: We the National Football League condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We the National Football League admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We the National Football League believe Black Lives Matter." www.instagram.com/p/CBN8b4Kn4S0/
As for baseball, Giancarlo Stanton tweeted a video which included him and other players such as Aaron Judge and Mookie Betts. They used #Players4BLM while vowing to make their voices louder toward creating change. Their message was, "We've been told that our peaceful pleas were not made at the right time, at the right place, in the right way. We've been told to 'wait.' But we remember when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. warned us that the word 'wait' has almost always meant never. We will wait no longer. We will make our voices louder for all of us who can and for all of those who could not." www.instagram.com/p/CBeefY6lNeu/
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson was a longtime friend of George Floyd. After hearing the news of his death, he flew to Minneapolis, where he's spoken at rallies about Floyd's story to bring attention to the police brutality that still occurs. Soon, he became an unforeseen spokesman for the family and the Black Lives Matter movement which has gained momentum around the world. He also gave a passionate speech on May 29 during a news conference at Minneapolis City Hall. At Floyd's funeral in Houston, he sat next to Floyd's daughter Gianna and later held her up on her shoulders at a rally. Jackson not only promises to take care of Gianna, but to bring justice for the family. His work earned lots of praise from many players, commissioner Adam Silver, former teammates, and coaches.
Despite the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, there is still controversy over some methods of protesting. Drew Brees said in an interview that he will never agree with anyone who kneels during the National Anthem. Many people such as James and even Brees's teammates spoke out against Brees. Even though Brees is well-liked within the football community, his comments show the lack of understanding he and many other Americans still have about racism. The responses from many fans and players who were upset by his comments shows the increase in their support toward protests against discrimination. Shortly after the interview, Brees issued an apology pledging to be an ally for the African-American community in fighting for racial equality and social justice.
This is the first time that athletes of all sports are using their social platform to create change. LeBron James recently created an initiative called More Than a Vote with the goal of standing up against racist voter suppression by educating, energizing, and protecting communities. Other athletes and entertainers have teamed up together to reach out to communities. Within one month, the organization has already identified major cities in key states in hopes of having an impact.
During this month, NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace spoke out against the Confederate flag, saying it was a symbol of hate, not heritage. He successfully used his platform as the the only full-time African American driver at the top level to call for Confederate flags to be banned at NASCAR events. His viewpoints have caused him to give up sponsorships, but he has always put his beliefs over money. Shortly after he took this stand, a rope was found in his garage which was thought to be a noose. After investigations, it turned out not to be a hate crime, but the support he received was encouraging. This included an emotional procession of other drivers following Wallace who was driving his car to the front of the pit road.
This is a unique time for our country. It's important that athletes contribute to society in other ways besides just playing sports. Those ways may be varied, but recently many have come together with the purpose of working toward racial equality. It's time for the rest of the world to not just approve the work that athletes are doing, but rather make our own effort to make a difference in some way.
Here are some links to organizations founded by and supported by athletes:
This is the time of baseball season that we've been waiting for. The Playoffs. Throughout this year, lots of teams were able to live up to their expectations, others regressed, but have still made it past the regular season, while some teams overachieved. With the defending champion Boston Red Sox out of the playoffs, lets see who this year's new champion will be.
1. Houston Astros 3
4. Oakland Athletics 2
4. Oakland Athletics over 2. New York Yankees 4
5. Tampa Bay Rays 3. Houston Astros 2
2. New York Yankees 3
3. Minnesota Twins 1
2. New York Yankees 4
1. Los Angeles Dodgers 2
1. Los Angeles Dodgers 3
4. Washington Nationals 2
4. Washington Nationals over 1. Los Angeles Dodgers 4
5. Milwaukee Brewers 2. Atlanta Braves 2
2. Atlanta Braves 3
3. St. Louis Cardinals 1
This season, the New York Yankees have been pretty good. Now I know that you readers are probably thinking I'm not surprised. According to your article in March, they were going to win the World Series, so why are you writing another article about how good they are? The reason why I'm writing another article about how good the Yankees are, is because they are playing really good considering that they have a whopping 14 players on the injured list. Yes 14 players. Amongst those players are Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, Didi Gregorius, and Dellin Betances. And yet they are amongst the elite teams in the American League.
So while they are still waiting on their players to come back, how could they be doing this good?
The answer, is that these players have been waiting for an opportunity to contribute for what they, along with others believe is a championship team. So even though they are a bunch of guys who are prospects playing in the minor leagues or castoffs, they are the main reason why the Yankees are now 34-15 after starting 6-9. Unlikely heroes like Clint Frazier, Mike Tauchman, Gio Urshela, D.J. Lemahieu, Cameron Maybin, Thairo Estrada, and Domingo German, have emerged throughout this stretch. Frazier who was acquired from the Cleveland Indians in 2016, showed flashes in 2017, but sat out the conclusion of the season and most of 2018 with injuries. But this year, he is enjoying a healthy season in which his 11 home runs have filled in the void of the injured sluggers on the team. Gio Urshela played sparingly for the Seattle Mariners and Indians before landing with the Yankees last year in August. His slick fielding has made many highlight reels. Maybin has played on 8 teams before getting traded to New York in late April. His key hits and plays in the field may not go in highlight reels, but are essential to this winning stretch. Lemahieu spent most of his career with the Colorado Rockies before being picked up by the Yankees. His clutch hitting has prompted Gary Sanchez to call him "The Machine." Some of the well-known players such as Sanchez along with C.C. Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Aroldis Chapman, Luke Voit, and Gleyber Torres, have been playing really good baseball. Aaron Boone's growth has been evident in his sophomore season. Lots of the credit of the success of these little-known players goes to him. The Yankees' highlights include sweeping the Boston Red Sox in their first series since last year's ALDS defeat, beating the Twins who are currently one of the best teams in the A.L., and winning a huge division series against the Rays, and then winning an amazing 9th straight series against Boston. So the question, is how good will the be once their other stars who are out will come back?
The answer is very good.
They not only have a well talented roster of all stars, but a well balanced roster of players who have lots of experience playing for each other. As it is, they've already got some injured players back such as Sanchez and Sabathia who have been playing really good baseball while Aaron Hicks who recently returned, is already beginning to regain his old form. Other players may start out rusty, but will eventually regain their form before it's too late. As it already is, injured players during this stretch like Judge have been making lots of progress in their rehab, so by the time he returns, he'll go back to being the powerful hitter and athletic fielder the he already is. Shortstop Didi Gregorius who returned yesterday, is already playing like the consistent hitter and fielder that he is. Other guys like Severino and Stanton are now expected to be out for longer than expected, so they may be rusty, but their play will likely take a turn for the better once the season comes to an end. Once everyone is back and at full strength, the Yankees will probably be so dominant to the point here they can toy around with their lineups and still keep up the winning pace. But for now, there's a lot of reasons to be excited about this team, especially with Aaron Judge's return looming towards the end of the month.
So as they are right now in arguably their best winning stretch in franchise history, their A team is making great progress as their return off the I.L. is coming closer by the day. The only question would be how to take advantage of their maximum production. Chances are, that with lots of production already happening with their A team and B team stars, it will continue to happen even with the increase of their A team stars coming back. So with the Jets patching up their GM hole and the Knicks and Nets are primed to have big off-seasons, this summer should be fun for New York Sports fans.
After a few years of mediocrity, the New York Yankees have re-emerged as one of the MLB's elite. They have loads of talent, young core players, and good management. But it's their experience gained over the past two years that will be the key for what will probably be a memorable 2019 season.
The Yankees burst onto the scene, exceeding expectations by making the ALCS in 2017, and followed that up with a short playoff run last year. During these runs, the "Baby Bombers" have grown up, and are now primed to use their past experience for a 2019 run.
The talent that this team has, is crazy. As of now, their roster is filled with players that do lots of damage both at the plate and in the field such as:
Here's some information on some of these players! Aaron Judge in just 2 years, has been amazing to watch. At 6 foot 7, he has hit home runs as far as 495 ft. He has a cannon for an arm - base runners don't have a good chance to get any extra bases once a ball is hit to him. His height helps him to steal home runs with leaping grabs at the fence. Giancarlo Stanton, who was acquired in last year's offseason, struggled at first, but rebounded with 38 home runs, 100 RBIs, and batted .266. It is likely that he'll be even better next season, now that he has had a season to adjust to the American League. Gleyber Torres was one of baseball's top rookies last year, hitting 24 home runs and batting .271. He also has shown an ability to come up big in pressure moments, which has added an exciting element to his game. Miguel Andujar has emerged as a reliable hitter as well. While there was speculation about whether he might be traded if the Yankees signed Manny Machado, Machado signed with the San Diego Padres indicating that the Yankees truly trust Andujar to become a key piece of the team. Didi Gregorius has been very consistent and reliable for the Yankees throughout last season both in the field and at the plate. Aaron Hicks has emerged as the x-factor of the Yankees. With his ability to hit at the plate, fielding skills, and competitiveness, manager Aaron Boone called him, "The most underrated player in the game." It also got him a 7 year contract extension with the team. Pitcher Luis Severino, who had a hot start followed by an inconsistent second half of last season, has still emerged as the Yankees' pitching ace. Catcher Gary Sanchez did not have as good a year as expected, but rebounded with a strong postseason. His skills both at the plate and in the field will be essential for the Yankees in the years to come. And the bullpen, led by Aroldis Chapman who added a vicious slider to his arsenal, should ensure the Yankees don't lose many leads. All of these players are, without doubt, their core players now, and most will remain key players in the future. Unlike other teams with great players, management knows to lock in their good players.
During those 2 years, Brian Cashman went from making moves that only benefit the team short term, to making moves that will benefit them in the long term. Therefore, fans can thank him for all of the excellent drafts, smart trades, and carefully thought free agent signings. Judge, Severino, Sanchez, and Andujar? Drafted by the Yankees earlier this decade. Stanton, Hicks, Gregorius, and Torres were all traded to the Yankees. Chapman is the only member of this core group who was a free agent signing. The Yankees added to their core of players this offseason with the acquisitions of pitchers James Paxton, Adam Ottavino, Troy Tulowitzki, and Gio Gonzalez. Second year manager Aaron Boone will be more experienced this season and will look to manage a deep playoff run and possibly a championship.
The key that will probably help this team win the World Series, is experience. There are a lot of different areas of the team that will show tremendous growth. Stanton, Torres, and Andujar will be even more comfortable with the team as they enter their sophomore season as Yankees. Aaron Boone showed some flaws but should learn from some of his mistakes. As a whole, despite only 2 years of contending, the Yankees have had significant playoff experience - as well as the motivation that comes from losing early in the playoffs that they expected to win a championship. This playoff experience should give them the mentality that makes champions, not just in 2019, but for many other years in the future.
Three years ago, the Yankees had an uncertain future. They were average at best but weren't looking like a team that could compete in the years to come. Now, they look set to compete at the highest level. Before Yankees' fans know it, they could be in New York City celebrating a 28th World Series Championship