Well, would you look at that. With last night’s 7-6 victory over the Athletics, the Yankees improved to 75-52 on the season. A few notes about that:

  • This is a 96-win pace over a 162-game season. The Yanks really flipped the script here, huh?
  • They now have a 3-game lead over Boston for the first slot in the Wild Card. They are six ahead of Oakland in the loss column.
  • The Yanks sit only 4 games out of first place in the American League East.

Pretty, pretty nuts. Last night’s game – which I watched but was too tired to recap at 2 am – was a wild one, too. The Yanks were up 6-0, immediately blew that lead, and then won in the 9th inning after both teams were scoreless for 3 frames. That looks like this:

Anyway, let’s get to some takeaways. These are going to be a bit abbreviated, but they’ll get the job done.

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  • Jameson Taillon Had It, Then Lost It: Weird start for Jameson Taillon, and his worst in months. He looked solid, as he has been for a while now, for the first two frames in this one. When the Yankees spotted him a 6-0 lead early on, it seemed like a game in which the Yanks would cruise. Taillon, unfortunately, had other plans. The wheels came off in the 3rd and especially 4th innings, over which he gave up 5 runs. All told, Jameson pitched 3.2 innings, allowed 5 runs on 4 hits, 2 HR, and 3 walks. It was not his sharpest, but I have a long leash with Taillon. He’s been so good lately, a game like this was bound to happen.
  • The Offense is Still Clicking: Last game, I noted that the Yankees are scoring a lot of runs now. Turns out they decided to keep that up. They Bronx bombed themselves to an early 6-0 lead. Here’s how that went:
    • Stanton is Red Hot: Another night, another extra-base hit for Giancarlo Stanton. Our man Giancarlo absolutely destroyed a massive home run to dead center early on in this one. It was one of those homers only he can hit. Sure, he only went 1-4 last night, but he made that one hit count – just as he has been lately.
    • Joey Gallo Contributes: The big blow came off the bat of Joey Gallo, who launched a 3-run homer in the 3rd inning to right field. Gallo has been struggling, so good to see from him. He also added a walk and strikeout in last night’s Very Gallo Performance.
    • Brett Gardner’s Resurgence: Don’t look now, but Brett Gardner has been hot of late. He scrapped a homer last night, which is great. I love Brett and love it when he gets on these weird, unexpected hot streaks. He’s hitting .291/.403/.455 (139 wRC+) with a 14.9% walk rate in August in nearly 70 plate appearances. Love, love, love it.
  • Aaron Judge Comes Through: Tyler Wade and Aaron Judge helped put this game to bed. After being deadlocked at 6 for a few innings, it was starting to look like extra innings were to come – and that would give Oakland, as the home team, an advantage. It wasn’t to be. After an Anthony Rizzo walk, Tyler Wade pinch ran, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild throw. Judge quickly singled him in with 2 outs in the 9th, which gave the Yankees the lead they wouldn’t surrender. Beautiful stuff all around. The New Look Yankees are different than the old Yankees.
  • The Pre-Chapman Bullpen Works: Turns out a little rest is good for the arm. After some off-days and easy victories last weekend, the Yankee bullpen has been pretty well rested of late. That’s helpful. The team’s bullpen was very solid last night, throwing 5.1 innings of 1 run, 3-hit ball with 8 strikeouts and just two walks. (This includes Chapman, but I’ll cover him specifically.) Albert Abreu was the only one to surrender a run – it came on a HR – and the rest of them were nails. Clay Holmes struck out the side and Jonathan Loaisiga worked two hitless innings. Everything is clicking.
  • Aroldis Chapman Gets the Save: There’s been a lot of hand-wringing about Aroldis Chapman lately. I get it. He’s been a bit erratic, but I thought last appearance was more “rusty Aroldis Chapman has no clue where it’s going” than “Aroldis Chapman is broken.” There were some good signs last night, though. Chapman needed just 13 pitches to retire the side, though he kept it interesting. A two-out single and stolen base put the tying run on second base, but it was to no avail for Oakland. A few notes on Chapman. One is that his fastball didn’t get a single whiff. He threw 12 of them – just one splitter – got six swings, and zero misses. That is a little concerning. His velocity was a bit down, but he topped out still at 99 mph. Second, and this one is better, Chapman was in the zone with the fastball and he used it a lot. That’s usually a sign he has confidence so I’m choosing to take that as a positive sign. This is a much better plot than last time, for example:

The Yanks and A’s will play again tonight at 9:40 pm ET. Gerrit Cole (12-6, 2.92 ERA) will take on Sean Manea (8-8, 3.77 ERA) in that one. They’ll look to make it a baker’s dozen. Enjoy your day, everyone. See you soon.