Matt Carpenter said he knew the situation was right when he got the call and became a New York Yankee. Sunday afternoon in the Bronx the veteran hit two home runs as the Yankees routed the Chicago Cubs 18-4 and swept another three-game series.
The situation is right for Carpenter and this entire Yankees team that continues to win ball games. By a wide margin they have the best record in baseball.
And this is mid-June with no signs the Yankees are going to stop this record pace. Yeah, these were the Cubs, an awful baseball team in a rebuild mode. But these were the Yankees hitting home runs again, scoring runs. The pitching has been darn good.
Carpenter is the second player in the modern era to hit six home runs among his first seven hits since joining a team.
“That’s impressive,” said manager Aaron Boone.” What is more impressive is Carpenter and the Yankees. They are 44-16, have won or split 16 of their 19 series this year, and are the fifth Major League team in the last 67 years to win at least 44 of their first 60 games.
Friday night in the Bronx it took 13-innings. The unsung hero, Jose Trevino, put an end to the festivities with a pinch hit walk-off single as Boone used his last utility player off the bench.
Saturday night the Yankees hit six home runs and won 8-0, their 9th shutout of the season. And then there was Sunday afternoon and it got to the point of reality about the Yankees winning 110 ballgames.
It gets to a point when you come to the ballpark and say, the Yankees will win. It’s getting to a point about these Yankees and that home run ball. Though it appears to be boring baseball at times, seeing a team leading baseball by a wide margin with home runs (98) and on a record pace.
The season has yet to reach the halfway mark but the Yankees ultimate goal is carry on and take this to October. Remember, all the home runs, runs scored, wins, they mean nothing if you don’t win in October.
“They are intimidating,” one league executive commented about the Yankees lineup and their efficiency at hitting the home run ball.
Judge, in particular and Giancarlo Stanton are part of that intimidating factor. You sit in the press box and look down. You hear the crack of the bat, roar of the crowd, then the record Statcast numbers for Judge are impressive.
Sunday afternoon, Judge took a rare day off from adding to the numbers of leading MLB with 24.
“I’m a sucker for a good rally, doubles in the gaps, runners in scoring position,” he said Saturday night, on pace to hit as many home runs as Roger Maris and Babe Ruth hit in a season with 60 or more.
Thing is, Judge is healthy. So is Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and the newcomer Jose Trevino. Judge and Stanton, for the first time as teammates have been in the lineup together for an extended period of time.
You ask others around MLB. Can and will the Yankees be stopped? They say, as you hear, baseball is a game that works in strange ways. Unexpected injuries, hitting more than pitching is contagious. The Yankees home run ball is contagious.
Which leads to a Yankees team going into a two-week stretch of games with the Rays, Blue, Jays, and Astros and three of the better teams in the American League. Games during this stretch at home and on the road.
-2022 record vs. AL East opponents: 19-10 including 9-3 vs. The Orioles
-2022 record vs. Tampa Bay Rays: 2-2 split of a four-game series at Tampa.
-2022 record vs. Toronto Blue Jays: 6-3
-2022 record vs. Boston Red Sox: 2-1
So this stretch will be a test but not crucial. Two series with the AL West leading Houston Astros will be intense. You know the history here with the Astros and abruptly halting the Yankees plans of advancing to their first World Series since 2009.
It’s been a long drought, but this is a different and potent Yankees team and the Astros never seem to be on a decline which makes for interesting baseball.
So it’s been interesting for the Yankees. It is expected to continue but the players say, we ain’t won nothing yet.
Rich Mancuso Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso Watch “Sports with Rich” live on Tuesday Nights at 10pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with Robert Rizzo Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under The SLG Network.