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Game 85: Offense strikes early, Cessa bridges gap in win

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It probably shouldn’t have been close, but a win’s a win. The Yankees are 44-41 with tonight’s 5-4 victory over the Mariners in Seattle. It’s the team’s third consecutive win, and tomorrow, they can complete the series sweep.

The Yanks tallied all five runs in the first two innings against Yusei Kikuchi, only to go quietly the rest of the night. Early runs were just what the doctor ordered with a spot starter in Nick Nelson tonight, although the Yanks were going to need a lot of offense considering how scheduled starter Domingo Germán (scratched because of a root canal) has pitched of late. Especially when Nelson couldn’t complete the first inning and was dreadful. But thankfully, the unheralded Luis Cessa saved the day in long relief even as the Yankees’ offense cooled off.

Germán did get into this one later, only to make it interesting by allowing a three-run homer, but Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green slammed the door to preserve the lead and win. Here are the takeaways:

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Game 71: Gary Sánchez and the defense deliver again

What a finish! The Yankees snuck past the A’s this afternoon at Yankee Stadium, 2-1. It took some clutch hitting from Gary Sánchez (who else?) and an incredible triple play to bail out a shaky Aroldis Chapman in the ninth to win this one. That’s right, the Yankees turned a game-ending triple play, as you can see in the video above, to win this one.

Game 47: A walk-off walk

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The Yankees have now won six straight games with this afternoon’s 5-4 victory over the White Sox. It came in pretty unconventional fashion, but a win’s a win. Aaron Judge’s ninth inning walk-off walk against Liam Hendriks was the difference in this one. It picked up a rough day for the bullpen, including Aroldis Chapman’s first blown save of the season. With that, let’s get to today’s takeaways:

Game 12: Bats go quiet after hot start in walk off loss to Toronto

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The Yankees dropped this afternoon’s affair to the Blue Jays, 5-4. Bo Bichette, who homered twice in this one, delivered a walk off home run against Chad Green in the ninth. The Yankees are now 5-7 and have lost three of the four series they’ve played thus far.

Corey Kluber delivered another less-than-ideal outing and the offense sputtered again. The bullpen kept the Yankees in the game, but the relievers can only keep doing so much. I’ll expand on Kluber, the bats, and the ‘pen in the takeaways from this one after the jump.

The bullpen: A great stable of arms [2021 Season Preview]

Newbie Darren O’Day sure knew how to endear himself to a fanbase, huh? There clearly was some intent in that comment early this month. As you may recall, Rays’ manager Kevin Cash touted his stable of guys who throw 98 last year in response to the beef the Yankees and Rays had. It sounded a bit threatening after Aroldis Chapman threw some chin music to Mike Brosseau. Granted, the Rays got the last laugh. It’s a new year though, and this bullpen is clearly pretty good, as O’Day said.

The locks

Although Aroldis Chapman‘s high octane fastball is no longer unique among his peers, he’s still one of the league’s best closers. He’ll continue to blow his upper-90s heat by hitters in 2021, but that might not be his only big threat anymore. Sure, his slider has been effective at times in the past, but this year, Chapman plans to incorporate the splitter he teased last season. It’s looked pretty nasty in camp.

As tantalizing as that split looks, there’s one ultimate goal for Chapman this season: to record the clinching out of the World Series rather than end his year like the previous two postseasons. One last note: Chapman will serve a two-game suspension to start the season as a result of this aforementioned incident against the Rays last season.

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