The Yankees without Aaron Judge: 12 of their last 17 games decided by two runs or fewer. Sunday afternoon in the Bronx this was different, a 5-3 comeback and series win over the Texas Rangers. And those Rangers are second to the Rays in the American League.
Indeed, this was different, and the Yankees comeback was without Aaron Judge. Instead, Harrison Bader had a go-ahead two-run double in the eighth inning to close a 4-2 homestand. The Yankees will take that without Judge and hope this series win will lead to a comeback in the AL East standings.
Not impossible is a comeback for these Yankees, still plenty of opportunity to cut their 9½ game deficit from the Rays with two weeks prior to the All-Star break.
Sunday, though, many instances said it would be no different. Sustaining momentum of timely hits and scoring runs have been common without the Yankees Captain in the lineup. Three times this season, 30 games, the Yankees trailed after seven innings and went to bat in the 8th with one hit since the second inning.
Anthony Volpe opened the inning with a double, Jose Trevino with the infield single, Bader finished the comeback. During this struggle the Yankees bullpen has been the best in baseball, no different this time either as Michael King earned his fifth save.
It’s the Yankees without Judge. They need to win ball games leading in the 9th, or coming back in the 8th. Indeed, an adjustment and lacking the home run ball, again none with this comeback win.
“At the end of the day, regardless of what it takes after nine innings just coming out with a win in any way possible is really the name of the game,” Bader said. “It feels great, sometimes you’ve got to grind it out. I’m just fortunate and happy to be on the winning side as we continue rolling here.”
It’s living without Judge, and Bader has to do the job, along with Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Josh Donaldson, and Giancarlo Stanton, who had an RBI single in that 8th inning and hitting safely in back-to-back games after going hitless in the past five.
“I’ve got a lot to do,” Stanton said. “It’s good for now, but that doesn’t clear it for me.”
Clear, though, Stanton has been hurting the Yankees. He heard the boos this week. Another Yankees sell-out crowd of 46,064 was loud and clear before that RBI single, (7-for-58) since his June 1 return from the injured list.
Manager Aaron Boone said Stanton is close to breaking his skid. LeMahieu got his third double in four games in the second inning that accounted for two runs off Rangers’ starter Nathan Eovaldi.
“He had good at-bats today,” Boone said. “The ball he hit to right field, he hit it well. It looked like DJ. I thought he looked more alive in the box.”
Truth, though, the Yankees had a revival in the box in that 8th inning. Oakland, the worst team in baseball is next and more reason for the Yankees, perhaps going on a run, again living without Judge.
This was the Yankees biggest series win of the season and how many times has that been stated? Why, of course they had a comeback win without Aaron Judge in the lineup and that accounts for much.
And to clarify, Josh Donaldson is not in the doghouse. He wasn’t in the lineup and absent for the entire three-game series. Boone said it was best to have his slumping player sit out a few games.
“This is just a stretch,” Boone said. I felt like I wanted to give him a couple of days to kind of work through and that was kind of my decision on that through this little stretch, but I expect him (Donaldson) to get consistent at-bats.”
And the Yankees need more of these comeback wins, or in this case consistency of scoring early and often. Reality, Aaron Judge is a long way from a return to the lineup.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso