By Rich Mancuso/thenyextra.com
“I’m excited with the start and the fact that I feel like we’re playing good baseball”
Good baseball is not the word here as manager Aaron Boone said about his team Monday night after the Yankees 6-3 win over the Phillies in the Bronx. It is extraordinary baseball during a 60-game sprint and a 8-1 start.
Thing is, the Yankees did not need 60-games. This is a team constructed to win a good amount of ball games during a normal 162-game season. A day off in Philadelphia, due to inclement weather and not COVID, does not stop the momentum.
Because the Yankees after nine games won’t lose momentum when they resume play Wednesday with two seven-inning games at Citizens Bank Ballpark. At this rate, had this been a normal schedule, we are talking about a team that could be at 65 or 70 wins.
Then again, you can’t compare 162 games to 60 during this sprint of a baseball season, though, who needs to debate? Look at the numbers during this start and seven-game winning streak.
The Yankees are off to their best start for the third time in franchise history, and this is not all about Gerrit Cole. Monday evening, he extended his career high winning streak to 19 games, a 1.86 ERA, 25 regular season starts.
But this will be about Cole as the Yankees continue their brief run to October. The record contract that is expected to live up to expectations and deliver a World Series championship during this season of uncharted territory.
The Yankees pitching staff as a whole are tied with the Cubs and Twins in ERA.
So assume this season is not halted, again anything is possible with baseball being played during a global pandemic, there are numerous scenarios and a Yankees team on pace to win more than 45 games is entirely possible.
And winning games out of the bullpen without Aroldis Chapman. The closer is cleared after two negative tests of COVID. Here you go with some of the other notes to this start and it’s more than Aaron Judge and on pace to a AL MVP season:
- Zack Britton (Four saves)
- Chad Green ( Two runners 5.2 scoreless innings,9 K’s)
This does not account for a bullpen that is also living up to expectations and leading baseball in ERA. Remember, Friday rosters are cut to 26. The Yankees won’t have 15 pitchers on the roster.
- Gio Urshela (Three run homer Monday night. 7-for-15, three runs, double, three HR’s, 9 RBI on the completed first homestand. Second Yankee to reach base safely in team’s first nine games since 2015.
- DJ LeMahieu ( Second leadoff home run of the season Monday night. Hit safely in seven of eight games and batting .412
- Aaron Judge ( No need to say more than a career high five-game home run streak that was snapped Monday night and MLB leader with 6)
Oh, the home run ball. With no fans, heat and humidity, the baseballs leave the yard, especially in the Bronx. The Yankees have homered in each of their nine games and lead baseball with 20. Next to the Twins last season, they are on pace to hit a record number in 60-games.
And it’s more than Judge, healthy and locked in. Though, Judge said this week he was not locked in. It is more than Urshela, a steal for the Yankees last year after the Indians gave up on him.
It’s the lineup, up and down, including Luke Voit, and the toughest in baseball. It’s about the defense. Urshela at third and Judge in right. Three times Monday night, Urshela got a ball and threw to first off the seat of his pockets.
And not accounting for the depth. Mike Ford, Mike Tauchman, Tyler Wade, Miguel Andujar.
Judge, a reach in right and arm as strong as his power. Three times in the four games this week, Judge, from the outfield prevented the Orioles and Phillies from taking the extra base.
And with exception of Gary Sanchez, adjusting still, to letting balls get past him at the plate, the Yankees defense is not making many miscues.
One other factor? We have not seen the power and consistent hit from Sanchez, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleber Torres. The Yankees expect James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka to give more innings and make an impact.
The sprint it is. Under the circumstances every Yankees fan has no reason to complain.
“Even though it is a shorter season, it’s a long way to go, but I’m happy with where we are,” said Boone.
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