After this past weekend in Boston, you can bet the Yankees asked whether there is indeed an “I” in team.
Entering a four-game set last Thursday at Fenway Park, the Bronx Bombers were just two games out of the second AL Wild Card and four games behind the AL East leading Red Sox. With a successful series in Bean Town, the Yankees could have inched closer to or even ended up in a playoff spot with just two weeks left in the regular season.
Instead, more than 72 hours later, the Pinstripe bunch found itself in just the opposite situation. Despite holding at least a three-run lead in all but one of the four matchups, the Yankees, this year’s best team in one-run games by winning percentage, lost all four matchups to its storied rival.
Jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the third inning on Thursday seemed more than promising for a squad that nobody pictured would be in the playoff race following the trade deadline. But the first place Red Sox wanted to maintain their division lead. Down 5-2 in the bottom of the ninth, the home team bested Dellin Betances.
After RBI singles from David Ortiz and Mookie Betts, the Red Sox trailed by just one run as Hanley Ramirez stepped to the plate with a chance to win it.
And win it he did. The veteran belted a three-run walk-off homer to dead center that traveled an estimated 426 feet. Everyone, whether at home or at the ballpark, knew it was over when the ball left the bat at nearly 107 mph.
With some calling Thursday’s game “the worst Yankees loss in years,” it was difficult for the team to bounce back the following night. They fell behind 3-0 early, with the third run coming from another Ramirez longball. The BoSox coasted to their second straight win.
By Saturday morning, the Yankees knew they needed to win the final two games at Fenway. Again, they jumped out in front, leading 5-2 through four innings, but four unanswered runs propelled the Red Sox to victory. While he didn’t record an RBI in the 6-5 win, Ramirez went 3-4.
The absolute must-win came on Sunday after three straight road losses. The Yankees built an early 4-0 lead, but then the man of the weekend took over again. Ramirez launched a two-run homer in the fifth before breaking a 4-4 tie in the seventh with a towering blast over the Green Monster.
By the end of the series, Ramirez had totaled four home runs and nine RBIs, while slashing .563/.588/1.375. “Han-Ram” was also named the American League Co-Player of the Week on Monday. Through Sept. 19, he’s racked up 28 home runs and 106 RBIs for the season, all while slugging .515.
Sorry Yankees fans — there might not be an “I” in team, but there is an “I” in Ramirez.