It seems amazing every time I realize it – but the New York Yankees have not won the American League East since 2012. They haven’t won a World Championship since 2009. Which apart from 1962-1977 (15) and 1978-1996 (18 years) is tied with the 3rd longest dry spell from 2000-2009 (9 years) between World Championships. They Yankees are ready to win again.
Despite losing Thursday night they have won 17 of their past 19 games, vaulted themselves into a tie for first place – and are showing that famous mental bully streak is alive and well.
Even in the loss Thursday, they were down 4-0 before rallying to tie the game in the 8th. Their lineup is just relentless: Shortstop Didi Gregorius is on fire, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are heating up, and now even Brett Gardner is getting into the mix more often. Not to mention C Gary Sanchez who can easily beat you with one swing.
What is more impressive about the recent hot streak is who they are playing: Beating the Red Sox 2 of 3 after sweeping the Angels in Angel Stadium earlier in the week. They took 3 of 4 from the Astros in Houston the previous week and sweeping the Indians before the Red Sox series. So no team not in first or second in their division. What will this team to the hapless Rays or Royals? (They start a series against the A’s tonight).
They are tied with the Red Sox for 4th in home runs but first in runs in the American League. They lead the league in On Base Percentage despite just being 7th in hits. On the pitching side, they rank second in ERA behind just the Astros and have managed to allow just 35 home runs on the season so far – good for third least in the American League.
Judge and Stanton might be the dynamic boppers, but this team also has injured first baseman Greg Byrd on the way back to help out from the left side of the plate and rookie Gleyber Torres has provided some recent heroics.
I do hope that Stanton is buying a lot of dinners for his young co-workers. Because of the youth of the Yankees, he is currently making about 10 times as much as youngsters like Torres and Miguel Andujar. Judge and Sanchez are making ‘just’ about $600,000.
There is certainly a long way to go, and it feels like the Yankees could use a backup bullpen or SP option, but with a relatively low payroll they have flexibility to go out and pick up some pitchers when the need presents itself and eat up some cash, whenever that need may come.
For those who were skeptical about how this team would mesh not only together but with rookie manager Aaron Boone, those doubts have been squashed and quickly. Perhaps with a word of warning though: “No one talks about chemistry when things aren’t going well.”. Let’s see how the Yankees react when they inevitably hit a rough spot – and for the rest of the leagues sake – let’s hope there is a rough spot.