The Yankees took 3-of-4 games against the Red Sox to cut their division deficit to 3.5 games with only 26 games remaining, but what did we actually learn from the games?
The Yankees have a legitimate rotation
Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray, those are the four starters that the Yankees would throw out there if they make it to the playoffs and opposing teams should be scared.
Starting with Severino, after his dominant performance against the Red Sox on Sunday Night Baseball in the Yankees biggest series of the season, he showed that he is here to stay. Severino went six innings allowing an unearned run while striking out nine Red Sox and outlasting Chris Sale. This was a big start for Severino considering he didn't fair well in his last start against Cleveland and was roughed up his last start against Boston as well. Severino is continuing to grow as a pitcher and is the Yankees ace of the present and the future.
CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka have continued to pitch well after spending time on the 10-day disabled list. Sabathia has won two of his last three starts only allowing four runs in 19 innings, while Tanaka has looked like the Tanaka of last season. With Sabathia and Tanaka pitching so well they just build on to what has been a solid rotation for the Yankees this season. Now throw Sonny Gray in the mix who has a 3.16 ERA as a Yankee and the Yankees have a legitimate chance in the playoffs should they make it.
The Yankees have had to rely on depth almost all season and it is what has kept them in the mix all season.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who lost his job to Aaron Hicks who had a great first half of the season, has been on a tear lately giving them some much-needed production at the bottom of the order. He now finds himself starting again with Hicks on the DL and had a three hit game against a tough lefty in Chris Sale putting together competitive at-bats.
Greg Bird has made his return from the DL and has looked like the Bird coming out of Spring Training. Bird has played in nine games since coming off the DL and has homered twice while driving in 9 RBIs. With Bird back and producing Joe Girardi has plenty of options between Bird, Chase Headley, and Todd Frazier on a daily basis. Bird also adds a left handed power bat in the middle of the order, something they haven't had all season.
Matt Holliday's absence over the last month was a huge one for the Bronx Bombers and his impact since coming off the DL in two games has been huge. Holliday hit a go-ahead home run on Saturday as well as hitting a huge home run against Chris Sale Sunday night. With Holliday back the Yankees bench is 10 times stronger than it was a month ago.
The kids are for real
Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Chad Green and Aaron Judge continue to show that they are players to be reckoned with now and in the future.
Sanchez and Severino continue to be consistent for the Yankees while putting up a monster second half of the season. Judge continues to scuffle in the second half and has seen himself drop as low as 6th in the Yankees lineup. The Yankees are hoping that the 469-foot bomb that Aaron Judge hit Sunday night can help him get out of this second half funk and back to the player we saw in the first half or anything that resembles that.
Chad Green has also been lights out coming out of the bullpen for the Yankees. Green only allowed four runs in 12 innings in the month of August and allow he did not pitch against the Red Sox, the Yankees had him in their back pockets should they needed him. Green has turned into a nice weapon in the bullpen, a bullpen that could be considered the best in baseball.
With key players returning from the DL, the lineup starting to get hot, the rotation being the strongest it has been in years and the bullpen being one of the best in baseball, the Yankees can legitimately make a run this post season. How they get there is yet to be seen and taking the series against the Red Sox helps them get within reach of the division.