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Two steps forward… One step back.

The All-Star Break is over, we are into the second half and baseball season has officially started. The best rivalry in baseball (actually maybe in sports) is Yankees/Red Sox. The Bo Sawks vs The Evil Empire.

The Yankees and Red Sox haven’t played each other in the playoffs since 2004, but the rivalry is still as heated as ever. Last season the Sox won the division but the Yanks went deeper in the playoffs.

This season the two have been battling it out for first place, because neither team wants to put their fate in a one game Wild Card playoff. (But it seems one of the two will have to settle for it, even with winning over 100 games.)

The Sox started the season on fire, coming out of the gate 17-4. The Yankees were able to gain ground and take over first place for about a minute until the Sox went on another 17-3 tear to end the first half.

Even though New York has one of the most powerful lineups in the league with Judge, Stanton, Didi, Hicks and others… They were sitting six games back of Boston. They went all in on Machado but lost out to the Dodgers. So instead of trying to add another batt they switched gears.

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Earlier in the week the Yanks traded for the O’s closer Zach Britton. He is coming off an Achilles injury, only has 16 appearances this year but when healthy he is one of the best in the league. He had a perfect inning with a strikeout in his Yankees debut last night. Add him to the already best bullpen in baseball with the likes of Robertson, Betances and Chapman… Look out.

Yesterday the Yanks beat the Royals 7-2 (another needed win for Sonny Gray, now 8-7) and the Red Sox lost. That put the Yankees 4.5 games back of the Sox, gaining ground again?

They also announced they had acquired middle of the rotation starter J.A. Happ from Toronto. (10-6 with a 4.18 ERA) Its not last year’s Verlander to the Astros trade, but it’s a solid move that the Yankees needed. Remember with that bullpen, the starters only need to give five good innings.

Started the home stand with a win, Sox lost, acquired two solid pitchers (and didn’t let other contenders get them) this is a good week. Then it happened…

Yankees “Tonight OF Aaron Judge sustained a chip fracture of the right wrist (ulnar styloid bone). No surgery has been recommended. The Yankees approximate a 3-week time period before Judge can swing a bat in a game situation.

Two steps forward and boom… One giant step back. Taking Judge’s bat out of the lineup is going to hurt. (Along with Sanchez back on the DL.) Who will step up? This would be a fantastic time for Stanton to truly “earn his pinstripes”

While Judge is gone the Yankees play KC, BAL, big series against Boston in Fenway, the White Sox, TX and Toronto. To stay in the race without Judge I think they will need to win four of of the six series and take 3 out of 4 or a at least split with the Sox.

This stretch is not going to be easy without Judge, but it also won’t be impossible. They got their impressive rookie Gleyber Torres back which will help (esp after trading away Drury for Happ.)

I have a bad feeling the Yankees are going to win over 100 game but are staring a one game Wild Card Playoff in the face. This team will battle to the end however and don’t be shocked if the Sox stumble at all that the Evil Empire will pounce.

I can’t wait for the rest of the season and the playoffs. Baseball is just better when the Yanks and Sox are in a battle.

GO YANKS!

-Kevin “That Guy”

Feature Image – Off The Bench

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