What Yankees manager Joe Girardi was hoping for was winning ballgames at home. Thursday night the Yankees started that stretch, 14 of their last 17 games in the Bronx and the manager was hoping to see his key components start to click with driving in runs.
And maybe a beginning of the game malfunction of the stadium sound system had something to do with four home runs and 13-runs. Whatever, manager Joe Girardi got the start he wanted.
He got more than enough Thursday night. The Yankees 13-5 win against the Orioles was the beginning of this schedule and with exception of three huge games next week at home against the wild card leading Twins, teams the Yankees can beat are on their agenda.
But as Girardi and everyone knows, if the Yankees are going to bypass the Red Sox and win the division they are going to need help from other teams. And when was the last time other teams let the Yankees get their way?
Oakland did not help the Yankees cause up in Boston so the deficit remains at three games and there is time to win this division, but it has to come elsewhere with no head-to-head games remaining with the Yankees and Red Sox.
But one element to all of this, and something the Yankees need to do more, is drive in runs. They did that fast and poured more runs on the scoreboard against Orioles’ starter Wade Miley who could not get out of the first inning with 19-pitches and a Yankees six run inning.
Miley got the Yankees off to a quick start in the shortest outing of his career and maybe it was the silence of a stadium sound system that malfunctioned which halted proceedings of the national anthem, a moment of silence for the late Gene Michael, and no player introductions for an inning and a half.
“After we got the six runs, I wanted to tell them don’t play anything,” said Judge. “Keep it silent. It’s kind of working for us.”
It was just another baseball oddity that Judge may have encountered when he was knocking home runs balls over the fences as a youngster. But these home runs, including his league leading 43rd, were two that surpassed Curtis Granderson for the most hit by a Yankee at the current ballpark.
And they were huge because the Yankees need that first half Aaron Judge to step up down this final stretch of games. Gary Sanchez and Judge went back-to-back with missile shots in the sixth inning and combined to drive in eight runs. That’s what the manager wanted to see to open these crucial stretch of games in the Bronx.
“He’s been getting closer and closer to where he was in the first half, and maybe he’s there,” Girardi said about Judge who has 11 home runs against the Orioles, most for a Yankees player against an opponent since Roger Maris.
As for Sanchez, his home run proficiency is known and need we remind you about last September that almost got him Rookie of the Year honors. This can be dangerous down the stretch, Judge and Sanchez, if they can be consistent and in these final few weeks.
Sanchez with his 31st home run set a record for a Yankees catcher. Yogi Berra hit 30 two times and Jorge Posada, hit 30 in 2003.
“This is my first full year,” said Sanchez through an interpreter. “To be able to get that record is an honor. We’ve had a lot of good catchers here.” And Sanchez added there was a surprise to having that may home runs because he missed time on the disabled list this season.
And the other elements to this win, besides Masahiro Tanaka giving the Yankees 7.0 innings, was tacking on runs and batting around twice. The Yankees have not done that much, but there was that feeling in their clubhouse, what Girardi said before the game.
It started Thursday night in the Bronx. Can the Yankees sustain that production Friday evening and make this a run to remember? Depends on a lot of factors, Judge and Sanchez of course in that equation
“We made some noise with our bats,” said Didi Gregorius. The malfunction of that sound system, who knows with all the perplexing things that go on at the ballpark but if the noise comes from those Yankees bats who needs sound?
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