by Jesse Liptzin, special to NY SportsDay
On June 25 against Toronto the Yankees set the MLB record by hitting a homerun in 28 straight ball games, win or lose. The number is up to 31—and in three countries and two continents after winning two games against Boston in London over the weekend. On May 25, a double header against the Kansas City Royals, the Yankees won, 6-5, the last time the Yankees didn’t hit it out of the park. The homerun to break the record came from DJ Lemahieu in his first at bat of the game against the Blue Jays.
This record is just one of the signs that this offense is a powerhouse team especially with the trade that landed Edwin Encarnacion in pinstripes. Encarnacion has 24 homeruns, most in the American League, with teammate Gary Sanchez second with 23 long balls. Asked about how it feels like to coach a team that has accomplished this, Aaron Boone said, “This is about them (Yankees players) and the hard work they put into the game.” Boone is in his second season as manager of the Yankees and in his first year the team broke the all-time single-season homeruns record.
And an even bigger accomplishment than the home run mark could be their series wins over the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays, two teams most likely to stand in the Yankees ways of making a title run.
Players like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the major power hitters, have been on the IL for the majority of the season, so other surprise players have backed them up during the absence. In addition to Encarnacion and Sanchez leading the way in power, first baseman Luke Voit (17) and infielder Gleyber Torres (19) have combined for 36 homeruns on the season. LeMahieu leads the league in batting (.345). He was signed as a free agent in the offseason after playing with the Colorado Rockies, for whom he hit .299 over seven seasons.
SB nation had a chance to ask Boone how DJ has liked the Yankees environment. He replied, “He’s out there to rip your heart out. He plays with an edge, and I think he does love being in this environment.” LeMahieu is on a tear especially when runners are in scoring position batting over .400. Also, players like Gio Urshela have really over achieved and shocked many as he is batting .303 holding down third base while Miguel Andujar is out for the season.
Several Yankees will be preparing for next week’s All-Star Game in Cleveland. Starters for the Yankees are LeMahieu and Sanchez, with closer Aroldis Chapman the lone additional player added, though others may move in as injury replacements. Adam Ottavino’s selection would not come as a shock as he continues his success with a 1.45 ERA.
As the first half of the season comes to an end the New York Yankees hope to continue their success and record-breaking accomplishments past the All-Star break and into the postseason.