As ridiculous as it would have sounded just one week ago, the New York Yankees are still very much in the race for the AL East division title.
After completing a four-game sweep of the lifeless Baltimore Orioles Sunday night, the Yankees improved to a season-high 36 games over .500. But the important narrative here isn’t exactly their impressive record, but instead that they sit just five games back in the loss column for first place in the AL East.
With the Red Sox winning just two out of their last ten, it’s been an ideal time for the Yankees to pick up the pace. Since suffering a devastating sweep in Fenway Park exactly three weeks ago, Aaron Boone’s club has rebounded immensely.
In 20 games, they’ve put up a 15-5 record. What’s even more impressive is the fact that this success has come without the hands of Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, and not to mention the absence of Didi Gregorius for the past five games as well.
The Yankees’ latest hot streak can be partially attributed to one specific player. Giancarlo Stanton.
Despite an 0-for-5 night to close out the road trip, Giancarlo Stanton has put the Yankees on his back and carried them in Aaron Judge’s absence. In the 28 games since the injury to Judge’s wrist, Stanton has slashed .284/.380/.606, swatting nine homers and driving in 23 while posting a 163 wRC+. In terms of naming a second-half MVP for the Yankees, it’d be a fair argument between Stanton and the red-hot Miguel Andujar.
Where thing’s sit right now, the Yankees are in a much better place for there to be a fight for the division. Heading into a seven-game homestand where the dreadful White Sox and Tigers come to town, it’d almost be inexcusable for the Yankees to not take five games, if not six or all seven.
Nonetheless, there’s once again reason to scoreboard watch in hopes of a division title, and those hopes may not be too far-fetched after all.