The New York Yankees, led by replacement third baseman Gio Urshela, took two out of three games from the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend to move into first place in the American League East.
For a second weekend in a row, the Rays and Yankees squared off. Last weekend, the Yankees won two out of three games in Tampa to close the gap on the first-place Rays.
When the series resumed at Yankee Stadium, the Rays held a half-game lead over the Bronx Bombers. The Yanks snagged first place with a 4-3 comeback win on Friday night thanks to ninth inning heroics by Gio Urshela. The Rays regained first place on Saturday with a 2-1 extra innings victory. However, the Yanks took it right back with a 13-5 thumping on Sunday.
During Friday night’s match up, the Rays opted for an opener starter against CC Sabathia. The crafty veteran scattered six hits and only gave up one earned run. However, the Yanks were trailing 3-1 heading into the ninth inning.
Luke Voit launched a solo home run to trim the lead to 3-2. The Yankees embarked on a rally and loaded the bases, they evened the score on a wild pitch. Gio Urshela won the game with a walk-off RBI single.
“The kid’s just been unbelievable,” said Luke Voit. “Every time there’s a big situation, he always comes through.”
“He’s been the energy of this team so far,” added Sabathia.
Urshela, the backup third baseman from Colombia, is hitting .346 with 2 HR and 16 RBI. The Yankees called him up last month to fill in for Miguel Andujar. When Andujar returned to the lineup, manager Aaron Boone kept Urshela at third base. Boone did not want to go against the adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” with Urshela. Now that Andujar returned to the IL with season-ending surgery, the hot corner job is all to Urshela.
On Deck: Easy Street
The Yankees have an opportunity to pad their lead with a soft spot in their schedule. The Yanks have 14 games in 14 days, but the next four are against the last-place Orioles (15-31) in Baltimore. Then the Yanks fly out to Kansas City (16-31) for a weekend series against the Royals.
On Memorial Day, the Yanks host the San Diego Padres (23-24). The Padres have shown spurts of greatness with solid pitching from Chris Paddack and Kirby Yates.
The Yankees also boast one of the best road record in baseball with an 11-7 clip. On their most recent road trip out West, the Yankees went 6-3 and swept the San Francisco Giants.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book, the Yankees are 13/2 favorites to win the World Series. Meanwhile, the Chicago Cubs are making a run. The Cubbies are one of the new favorites to win the 2019 World Series.