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PSA Plays the Show: Yankees start to heat up

A good week puts New York back on top the AL East standings

There’s more than one way to win a baseball game. You can chock your lineup full of sluggers and win with offense, or you can load up a bullpen that takes all the close games. Or, if you’re our simulated 2020 New York Yankees, you simply don’t let the Detroit Tigers score en route to a pretty good MLB The Show week.

In three games against the Tigers, the Yankees outscored their opponent 8-2, including two shutouts. Jordan Montgomery rebounded from the worst start in MLB history to throw 7.1 innings without surrendering a run. Gerrit Cole outdid him the very next night, with an eight inning performance featuring 15 strikeouts against just two walks. These are the kinds of games I miss the most. Signing Cole meant that Yankee fans were expecting to see a Cy Young-caliber season, with a good chance of the best Yankees’ pitching season this century. Starts like that underline why we were so excited. At least we have The Show.

Despite Matthew Boyd’s 10 strikeouts in seven innings, the Yankees finished a sweep of probably the worst team in baseball the next night with a 4-2 victory. Series like these are always funny to think about in real life. You want the Yankees to win as many games as they can, but there’s not a lot of fun or intrigue in beating up on the worst team in the game. At the same time, if the Yankees lose series to teams like that, which sometimes happens because baseball, we’re all annoyed. Sweeps are never a bad thing, but it’s hard to get too excited about brushing aside the Tigers.

Next up is a three-game set against the biggest challenger for the AL East after the season’s first month: Toronto. The Jays are led by rising star Bo Bichette, and seemingly trading places with the Yankees atop the division every other day. Gleyber Torres, meanwhile, leads the way in the series opener with a three-run home run, his tenth, and the Yankees take the first game 8-2.

The remainder of the series comprises possibly the two wildest games of the simulated season, with a combined 24 runs scored in 18 innings. Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees’ best pitcher in the early goings, takes his first loss of the year after working just four innings and surrendering four runs, two on a Bichette home run. New York does claw back a bit late to make it close, but an early hole proves to be too much to overtake staff...ace?...Tanner Roark.

The Yankees take the rubber match in a 7-6 thriller that featured another poor start from Montgomery. The lefty allows 15 hits and six runs in seven innings, raising his ERA to 5.06. I’m not sure how the MLB The Show roster algorithm works, but in the real world, the Yankees would almost certainly take advantage of one of Gumby’s two remaining option years and let him settle down in Triple-A, at least temporarily.

Fortunately, the Yankees came to hit too. Gio Urshela, DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit all notch two hits apiece—LeMahieu;s average now stands at a satisfactory .360—and Giancarlo Stanton walks four times to spur the offense. New York leaves Canada with a series win and a 0.5 game lead in the AL East.