By Brad Carroll
For the third straight series, the New York Yankees have made their case to be considered not only postseason contenders, but title contenders as well. The Yankees, after a slow start to the year, have swept the Rays, took three of four from the Tigers and then won the Subway Series by winning two of three from the Mets. The Rays are currently tied with the Yankees for first place in the AL East and the Tigers and Mets are not only first-place teams, but each held the best record in baseball before facing the reborn Bronx Bombers.
So, this stretch of winning eight of their last 10 games is beyond impressive for the Yankees. Here is a look back at the players who made a 5-2 week possible, and those that aren't doing their part during a red-hot stretch for the Yankees, with our 3 Up and 3 Down list.
Mark Teixeira: Nobody is hotter than Teixeira right now at the plate, as the first baseman went 8-for-24 (.333) this past week with six runs scored, a double, five home runs and 10 RBI against the Tigers and Mets. He's raised his average 58 points over that span, and did it against two very good teams, the Tigers and Mets. Teixeira had three homers and five RBI in the Subway Series. Teixeira has been an overall disappointment during his Yankee tenure, but maybe he's starting to make up for it in a season where the team needs all the offense they can get.
Michael Pineda: He had just one start this week, but it was a big one. Pineda allowed one run on five hits, striking out seven, in 7.2 innings Friday in a 6-1 victory over the Mets, which ended their 11-game win streak. After a slow start, Pineda has now put together two solid starts in a row, and is 3-0 for the season with a 3.86 ERA.
Dellin Betances: He was passed over for the closer's job, in favor of newcomer Andrew Miller, who has been light's out himself, but it hasn't stopped Betances from overpowering opponents, just as he did last year. In three appearances this week, Betances recorded two holds and a win, striking out seven in 3.1 innings. On the season, Betances hasn't allowed a run in 10.1 innings, letting up just five hits and striking out 15 in nine total appearances. The back-end of the Yankees bullpen is the best in baseball.
CC Sabathia: Saturday's game against the Mets, with Sabathia on the mound, was sad to watch. Not only did Sabathia lose all the momentum from a positive start at the beginning of the week against Detroit, the old ace looked very close to being done. Sabathia allowed seven runs on nine hits, including three home runs, in five innings of work. He took the loss to fall to 0-4 on the season with a bloated ERA of 5.96. It was obviously the final straw for nearly all fantasy baseball owners, as Sabathia hit the waiver wire quickly, but the Yankees don't have that luxury in the real world, and will still send him to the mound every five days. Hopefully, there is still something left in the tank of the once-great pitcher for the Yankees.
Carlos Beltran: We're not sure how many different ways we can say how bad Beltran is that we haven't already done so, starting before last season when we were dead set against signing him in the first place. General manager Brian Cashman thought he was not only worth signing, but giving out a three-year, $45 million contract to. Yankees fans can collectively shake their heads now. Beltran put together another terrible week, and could likely set up shop in the Down list for the rest of the season playing as he has. He went 2-for-18 (.111) with a single RBI in five games. Manager Joe Girardi is starting to take notice, finally, as Beltran was bench twice. Chris Young should get the at-bats designated for Beltran going forward.
Brian McCann: Here's a free agent signing from a year ago that everyone was in favor of, but hasn't lived up to the billing now almost a month into Year 2 of his Yankees career. McCann this past week was 5-for-24 (.208) with a double and two RBI. He went 2-for-11 over his last three games and is batting .232 with a homer and eight RBI for the season. McCann was supposed to provide offense from the catching position, but it hasn't worked out just yet.