Two consecutive ball games and wins for the Yankees, back-to-back after losing their previous three. Hold the presses because the Yankees are not on life support and perhaps, they never were.
Monday evening in the Bronx they showed signs of being the team that dominated baseball for a good part of the first half. Beating the crosstown Mets, 4-2, in the second installment of the Subway Series, was a good sign.
The Mets have a better record. They have become the talk of New York with the second best record in baseball next to the Dodgers. The Yankees, losers of 14 of their last 18 coming in, showed little signs of continuing their anemic offense that dwindled their commanding first place lead in the AL East.
They came in as the underdog and needed another game to show they don’t need to be rescued, though there were still reminders of bad baseball the past five months, including the error on a popup from rookie Oswaldo Cabrera.
An error that paved the way to a pair of runs for the Mets in the 7th inning and not their way of winning ball games. But Domingo German was better than Max Scherzer, denying the multi-Cy Young Award winner his 200th career win.
Andrew Benintendi, 2-for-3, has arrived with four RBI in his last two games, and the Yankees bullpen closed the door with scoreless innings. So, for now, all is good with the Yankees. As they say this is baseball as the Yankees ended a streak of six consecutive series losses.
Of course, this was the continuation of the Subway Series. The Mets won the first two at Citi Field last month, then the Yankees began this stretch of losing ball games that suddenly ended any foolish comparisons to the 1998 Yankees, or the 2001 Mariners. No longer were the Yankees going to establish a franchise record in wins, but that was all talk for those who believe in that kinda rhetoric.
“We got a special group of individuals that are mentally tough enough io kind of bounce back after a couple of tough series and know, hey, it’s a losing season and we haven’t been playing the type of ball we want to,” said Aaron Judge, who hit his major-league leading 47th home run off of Scherzer in the 3rd inning.
Then again, when Judge hits a home run, he leads the way. He ended a nine-game homerless streak.
Manager Aaron Boone was a culprit during this losing streak, but it was GM Brian Cashman and talk of his job in jeopardy because he assembled this Yankees roster.
“This has been a tough stretch,” Cashman said before the first pitch. “But this group has my belief. I believe strongly in them. It’s not easy with the adversity, the questions. I know our guys are focused and dedicated to right the ship.”
Cashman was confident and perhaps his team heard the pre-game comments, because the Yankees had quality at bats, many not seen since this historic losing streak began. The Yankees lineup went after Scherzer, they played aggressive and winning baseball.
“I believe in this group. I know Aaron Boone believes in this group,” Cashman said. “I know ownership believes in this group. My experience in the situation has always taught me, we are going to stay in this. We are going to reinforce what we got. I believe in these guys so better days are ahead.”
He said, “We know who we are, what we are capable of. Right now, we are out of alignment looking forward to getting back online.”
Monday night, the Yankees appeared to get back on line. And they beat a very good Mets team, their cross-town rivals. So, no talk now about Cashman losing his job. No talk about Boone losing control of a losing team.
And no talk about an epic Yankees collapse, though Tuesday evening is another game and five more weeks remain before October baseball comes when it counts.
“At our core, we believe we’re a really good team,” Boone said, “and how many that is in a row, that we’ve got to show that. I’ll leave that up to you guys.”
The guys were the media and Boone showed another side of a losing manager after another tough loss to the Blue Jays on Saturday. Monday night, his guys were on the winning side and that felt good for the manager, his team, ownership, and fan base.
“You could just feel a little different energy in the dugout,” Judge said. A bit of energy the Yankees hope to follow Tuesday night. They get a break because the Mets are bypassing Jacob deGrom, as their starter.
A modest two game winning streak, that they hope to extend, is something the Yankees believe will provide the energy they need. After all, their GM has always believed in this group.
Rich Mancuso [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso. Watch “Sports With Rich” with Rich and Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening live 8pmET on the SLG Network and YouTube. Like, Comment, Subscribe