In 2022, every American League East victory is going to be crucial for the New York Yankees. That's why Sunday night was so important. Even though there are 159 games left for the Pinstripes, manager Aaron Boone knows this division will decided by a few games or less. A three game sweep would have been sweet but Boston showed that they too plan to stick around this season with their 4-3 victory in series finale.

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OK. Let's give out some grades for the weekend. First manager Aaron Boone gets a (B) for the first weekend. I thought he made the right moves in all of the games. However, the DJ LeMahieu / Gleyber Torres situation is glaring already and there needs to be a better plan. I can't imagine that either player is comfortable with it, which makes the plan twice as bad. This is a Brian Cashman problem but Boone has to deal with it.

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How about some grades for the hitters? First-baseman Anthony Rizzo will prove to be Brian Cashman's best off-season move. Not only is he slick in the field but Rizzo had two home runs, 3 runs scored and 6 RBI's with a whopping 1.400 OPS. It's one series but a pretty good one. Rizzo gets an (A).

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Designated hitter/outfielder, Giancarlo Stanton picked up where he left off in 2021. Stanton belted 2 missiles that went for home runs this weekend, including a 2-iron shot on Opening Day that would have made 2022 Masters Champion, Scottie Scheffler proud. Stanton drove in 4 but struck out 5 times and left some important runners on base in Sunday's game. Stanton gets a (B+).

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Let's look at newcomer, third-baseman Josh Donaldson. First, Donaldson delivered the game-winning hit in Friday's extra-inning victory. That is a good way to make a name for yourself in the clubhouse. Donaldson had 4 hits this weekend and had only the one RBI but it was a game winner. The 36-year-old struck-out 6 times but played a flawless 3B. Donaldson gets a (C+).

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Last hitter is Joey Gallo. The microscope will be on him all season because he doesn't hit for average and is a very streaky hitter. Gallo had only 1 hit in 13 plate appearances this weekend. However, he is tied for the team lead with 3 walks and only struck-out 4 times, which is a good ratio for him. Gallo also hit some balls squarely but they were right at people. Gallo gets a (C-).

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Now for the Yankees starting pitchers. Gerritt Cole should get an (F) for whining about the 4 minute Opening Ceremonial First Pitch by movie star/comedian Billy Chrystal. But after a rough first inning, he settled down to pitch 4 innings giving up 3. He is the Yankees ace and should do better. The excuse filled Cole gets a (C).

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Saturday starter for the Bronx Bombers, Luis Severino is coming off of Tommy John surgery and went 3 innings giving up a home run. Severino gets a (B).

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Sunday night's starter, Jordan Montgomery got knocked down by a line drive to the leg only 3 pitches into the game. He stays in the game to go 3 and 1/3 giving up 3. Montgomery gets a (B) for the toughness to stay in.

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Finally, the highlight for the Pinstripes this weekend. The Yankees bullpen, led by closer Aroldis Chapman, gets a (A+) for the weekend. In 18 and 2/3 innings, the bullpen gave up 2 runs. A great sign for Aaron Boone.

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