It seems the Yankees have a new Shelley Duncan, a kid who came up to provide reinforcements late in the season and not only hits home runs but is built like a linebacker and exudes a joyfulness around his new teammates that’s infectious. Luke Voit was a pickup from the Cardinals, and now he’s made it to the Bronx. Well, his first stop was Camden Yards against the O’s, a series that resulted in a delicious sweep. With Bird just not delivering at first base on a consistent basis, it’s nice to have Voit as an option there. (Poor Bird. He has such a sweet swing, but alas he just can’t get on a roll.)
With the core group of hitters sidelined (Judge, Didi, Sanchez), it’s been guys like Walker, Andujar, Hicks, Torres and Romine who’ve stepped up to keep the Yankees closer to the Red Sox than I ever imagined. Six games! That’s all that separate the two teams at the moment.
Last night’s ESPN finale against the hapless O’s was the perfect time for Severino to show his old flashes of brilliance. And Happ has made me nothing but happy.
But optimism aside, if we’re really going to contend for the division or even for home advantage in the Wild Card spot, we need Chapman back. We need Judge. We need the Sanchez who gets hits and doesn’t make pitchers nervous with his tendency to allow passed balls. We need Didi in the lineup and at short.
And we need to keep beating the teams we should beat, the way we did with the O’s. Next up are the White Sox, a team we should thrash. Let’s hope.