With exception of that season opening series with the Red Sox and losing two of three to the Orioles last weekend, the Yankees left the Bronx Thursday as a first place team that just completed a 6-0 homestand.
Manager Aaron Boone is content and the Yankees are hitting on all cylinders as they depart for a road swing to Kansas City and Toronto.
Those Cleveland Guardians provided a test this week. The Yankees swept three from them in the Bronx. The Orioles, as bad as they are, were not a test the past three games. First place, 13-6 record, heading to Kansas City and Toronto is a good start as April nears a conclusion.
‘Pitching, defense, offensively, running the bases, I feel like everything’s kind of contributed and everyone on the roster is contributing,” said manager Aaron Boone.
“It’s a really focused group and to see them play well and get results and play well.” He mentioned this was a collective effort. The Yankees banged out 14 hits and scored 10 runs on getaway day in the Bronx.
Yes, the Yankees are hitting on all cylinders, Then again, Boone’s team has all the talent built to win and any questions about Anthony Rizzo, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Joey Gallo were answered during this winning streak and the Yankees are the first AL team with 13 wins.
But the Orioles committed five team errors that contributed to their rebuilding process in Baltimore. However, take into consideration as all do, the bad teams are who you have to beat in April.
Aaron Judge is coming around. Rizzo leads the American League in home runs (8) and got his team leading 19th RBI with a go ahead single in the Yankees four-run fifth inning.
Rizzo homered three times Tuesday. Stanton added an RBI single, his fifth in three games and hit his third home run Wednesday night on a cold night at the stadium.
Judge hit his fifth home run Thursday. The Yankees offense for now can’t blame that first week failure to score runs because of a slow short spring training period. They failed to score more than six runs in the first 15 games.
The Yankees scored double-digit runs in three of their last four games. Then again, their pitching has led the AL in team ERA leading to a theory that a brief spring did not hinder their ability to keep runners off the bases.
Yankees starters have allowed three earned runs or fewer in 18-of-19 starts this season and two earned runs or fewer in 15 of those starts with a 2.93 ERA and 97 strikeouts.
Boone used six relievers out of the pen Thursday, though the starters have provided length during this streak.
And this offense is now riding on Rizzo who was expected to be that left hand bat and cog in the lineup. The Orioles errors contributed to this sweep of the second homestand to begin the season.
“Whenever you get extra outs in a baseball game, you always want to cash in on those,” Rizzo said.
They are also cashing in wins at home, 10 of 13, and Thursday, Judge drove in four, a season high. It always seems Yankee Stadium is home sweet home and these Yankees, as previous teams have, are using the ballpark to their advantage.
“I think playing well at home is going to energize our fan base more and more throughout the summer, especially as it warms up,” Rizzo said. “I think guys are settling in more, getting more comfortable with their routine.”
Not hitting those cylinders in the first week had everyone talking about the Yankees not playing to expectations. Fans were discouraged and the skeptics were already calling for changes.
But things changed as the Yankees always expected they would.
Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso