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Keidel: Yankees And Red Sox Both Enter Crucial Series Seeking Resurgence

Jason Keidel
April 15, 2019 - 1:25 pm
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Something is major-league funky.

There's an inverted baseball world east of the Hudson River. Jacob deGrom just got rocked for the first time since the flip phone. Even still, his Mets (9-6) are three games better than the Yanks (6-9). The Bombers lost two of three - at home - to the lowly White Sox, who hit the Bronx with a 3-8 record. They were also swept at Houston, giving the Yanks a 1-5 mark over the last week.

The Yankees are 3-6 at Yankee Stadium against the Orioles, Tigers and White Sox - all of whom lost at least 98 games last year and were projected to remain in baseball's basement this year. And don't look now - the Bombers welcome the World Series champions for two days and two games. Indeed, Boston will be here to battle the Bombers on Tuesday and Wednesday, with more than pride on the line. Like the Yankees, the Red Sox (6-10) need to right the ship if returning to the postseason is something that is going to happen.

The Yanks just added Gary Sanchez to an injured list longer than the Magna Carta. Masahiro Tanaka just got vaporized by the White Sox. Former Washington ace Gio Gonzalez is looking like he can return to the majors just in time to help the injury-addled Yanks, but he's free to opt-out of his minor-league deal on Saturday and could leave the Yankees wondering how good he would have been in pinstripes.

Yet despite all these maladies and calamities, the downtrodden Bombers are in second place in the AL East, 5.5 games behind the 12-4 Rays. (Or one four-game sweep in Tampa from tickling first place.)

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This slice of cyberspace offered some big-league elixir, reminding all fans that you can't call a 162-game season on Tax Day. The New York Yankees were World Series favorites well before the season by rather experienced handicappers, who spend their time parsing the chalk from the chumps, all while helping the lords of Las Vegas build new, opulent casinos.

No doubt this feels like a biblical plague of injuries. And it's not exactly the Mesozoic Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner tweaking their ancient hamstrings. Sanchez joins Miguel Andújar, Troy Tulowitzki, Ellsbury, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, Jordan Montgomery, CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances and Ben Heller on the absence list. (Sabathia has since made a start, but still...)

According to CBSSports.com, the Yankees have lost an MLB-leading 155 days to injury. No other team is within two weeks of their total. According to the same article, the Yankees' four division competitors - the Rays, Red Sox, Orioles - have combined to lose 161 days to injury over the same period.

Yet even with this ominous swarm of mangled limbs surrounding River Avenue, the Yankees are still in second place. And while it's silly to go rabid over two April games, the Red Sox smash all the traditional narratives. First, they're the Red Sox. Second, two wins for the Yanks mean two losses for the Sox. It's the rare rivalry where 19 games are treated with frothing intensity. This is also a chance to grind a pinstriped boot into Boston's neck and send them back to Fenway with a woeful 6-12 record.

The Yankees have dipped from slump to serious concern. If Tampa Bay is real, they can streak to a ten-game bulge by May. The Yanks can fall back on the wild card, but that's not what the sharps had in mind, nor did the fans. Of course, there's time to get their act in order. A famous Flushing philosopher - Brodie Van Wagenen - reminded us that games in April have the same heft as they do in September.

So the Yanks can get well this week and no better way to start their comeback than hammering the hated Red Sox.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonKeidel