Yesterday, on this very show, I went out on a limb. I stuck my neck out. Because that’s what I do. I’m not here to make stupid statements or bold remarks, just to get buzz. But when I see something, I say something. And yesterday was one of those days. I came into the studio, cracked open a mic, and delivered some straight fire, by saying ‘Aaron Judge is pretty good as baseball.’
Now, I don’t normally do this, but I’m going to run it back so you can appreciate it a second time. Alvin, hit me with that molten lava.
Yeah, I said it. Aaron Judge is pretty good at baseball. That’s my opinion and I’m not going to apologize for it. Come at me.
And you know what; I’m going to take it a step further. This is how confident I am in my take and in the limb that I’ve stepped out on. Yesterday, I said I’m starting to think he’s pretty good at the sport of baseball. Then he went out and hit yet another RBI double, one that gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead against Dallas Keuchel, who dominated them in Game 1 and the 2015 Wild Card game. Over those two games, the Yankees had a total of 7 hits, zero runs, and 17 strikeouts in 13 innings. That was until last night. Greg Bird drove in Starlin Castro in the second to start things off and then Judge went to work in the third.
It was his third straight game with an RBI, and his sixth RBI in three games. And they all come in key situations. Having seen that, I’m starting to think that Aaron Judge might be better than pretty good. He might be very solid. And Gary Sanchez, who went 2 for 4 with a homer, isn’t bad either.
You take guys like Judge, Sanchez, and Didi Gregorious, combine them with cats like Todd Frazier, Brett Gardner, and Chase Headley, plus a gem from Masahiro Tanaka and then that Yankees bullpen and even the biggest Yankee-hater has to admit: this is a good Yankees team. I know we’re supposed to say they’re ahead of schedule, but when they’re one win away from the World Series, I don’t think they notice. Or care.
They came back from down 2-0 to Cleveland, the team with the best record in the AL, to win three straight. And now they’ve come back from down 2-0 to Houston, the team with the second-best record in the AL, to win three straight. And they just need ONE more to get to the Series. AHEAD OF A SCHEDULE. THEY’RE FREAKING HERE. HERE THEY ARE. HERE THE BLEEP THEY ARE!
And while the Yankees recovery has been impressive, the Astros disappearance has been mystifying. What happened? Manager A.J. Hinch said the team had “lost a little bit of our offensive mojo.”
Truth. This was the best offensive team in baseball. Really, the best offensive team in recent memory. And everyone of them stopped hitting at the exact same time. Certainly, part of that is the Yankees rotation, which come to find out is much better than anyone knew. And completely locking up some unbelievable bats. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa struggled in New York. George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Marwin Gonzalez have six hits between them in the series. Josh Reddick is hitless. It is so unlike this Astros team. Some of that is because of Yankee pitching and some of that is just bad luck at a bad time. And that can change in a hurry. And it better, or else their incredible season will be over. And the Yankees incredible season will just keep rolling on.
Their swagger is back. That stadium is rocking for the first time since they moved into it; and they’re undefeated there this postseason, and they just came back on two teams that won 100 plus games this season.
And I’ve gone from saying you probably don’t want to throw dirt on these guys to thinking they might actually be the team to beat. I knew they could swing it; and that their bullpen was lights out, but that rotation makes them dangerous as hell; and so does the personal belief that no matter how bad it is, they’re never out of a series. Come back on Cleveland and Houston the way they have and you start to think you’re unbeatable. And they might be.