The sizzling New York Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox and moved into second place in the AL East after winning 28 out of 39 games. The Yankees won six games in a row and now lead the Red Sox by a full game, while currently occupying an AL wild-card spot.
On the Fourth of July, the Yankees sunk to their low point of the season. They were 41-41 after an ugly loss in the Subway Series against the New York Mets. The Yankees trailed the Red Sox by 10.5 games while the Sox improved to 52-32 or 20 games above .500. Since the holiday, the Yankees went 28-11 and caught the Red Sox, who are in the middle of a 16-22 slide.
“It’s just belief,” said first baseman Anthony Rizzo. “Every day is a different story. There’s a never quit mentality.”
The Yankees and Red Sox don’t meet again until late September.
Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays took advantage of the slumping Red Sox and opened a five-game lead in the AL East. The Rays are -210 odds to win the division, according to an update by DraftKings. After the sweep, the Red Sox slipped to +700 odds to win the division, while Yankees saw a bump to +300 odds.
The Yankees are +500 odds to win the AL Pennant, but they’re only +1100 odds to win the World Series.
Local kid helps sweep
The Red Sox won nine out of their first 11 meetings against the Yankees this season. Since then, the Yankees are 4-1, including their most recent sweep. On Tuesday, the Yankees won both games in a doubleheader with 5-3 and 2-0 victories. On Wednesday, they completed the sweep with a 5-2 win.
Rookie Luis Gil has been the biggest surprise. The righty with a wicked fastball set an MLB record with 15.2 scoreless innings during his first three major league starts. The Yankees always had a “next man up” philosophy, especially in the last few seasons when they’ve seemed to be ravished by injuries. Gil personified their mantra with three big starts while replacing Gerrit Cole (COVID-19).
The Yankees are also getting big at-bats from hometown hero Andrew Velazquez, who grew up in the Bronx and graduated from Fordham Prep. The Yankees called up infielder Velazquez to replace an injured Gleyber Torres. The kid from the East Bronx made the most of his playing time. He went 3-for-7 against the Red Sox with four RBIs. He also drove in two big runs to help seal the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
“I’ve dreamt of doing what we just did,” said Velazquez. “In real life, it was way better.”
Last night’s game ended on a spectacular defensive play by Velazquez at shortstop to record the final out. He made a diving play in the hole and fired a one-hopper to first base on bang-bang play thanks to a quick scoop by Rizzo. The ump called Boston’s Kevin Plawecki out, but the Red Sox challenged the call. It was too close to overturn, and the Yankees won the game to complete the sweep.