LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Reach .500 While Clicking On All Cylinders

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Yankees Reach .500 While Clicking On All Cylinders

I tell you .500 never felt so good.

For the first time since April 14 (4-4), the Yankees are back at the even mark and they looked pretty good in getting there.

It was a 6-0 win in the opening game of a series against the division rival Toronto Blue Jays, during which starter Nathan Eovaldi went 6+ strong innings and the bullpen locked down the win without going to either Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman. They 2-hit the Blue Jays, who had one of the most prolific offenses in 2015 and who still have three of the most powerful hitters in the A.L. East. They also knocked out eight hits, including five against R.A. Dickey.

I always worry just a bit when they face such unconventional pitching, particularly at the beginning of a series, but the Yankees handled R.A. Dickey just fine. As Joe Girardi said during the post-game show on the YES Network, “We’re…getting contributions from everyone, up and down the lineup…you’re getting contributions from everyone on the pitching staff."

Over the past 18 games, the Yankees have gone 13-5, have scored almost 5 runs per game and have a 3.66 team ERA. That team effort is how the Yankees went from last place, 3.0 under the 4th place team, to 3rd place, 1.5 games above last place.

This was a great start to a crucial 21 game set with no off days. The Yankees have now put together a six game winning streak and have to be feeling pretty good about how they look.

There are a few things that can derail them. Foremost, in my opinion, would be moving Carlos Beltran out of the full time DH role. He’s been the Yankees best hitter this season and it’s best to keep him healthy. Not to mention his “defense” in RF leaves much to be desired. Why change a winning formula, especially in favor of a player who was struggling before he went down with an injury?

That plus the rotation question marks that still persist. Nova will have to show that he can still pitch with the focus he’s had while he thought he was fighting for a rotation spot, and CC will have to prove himself every time he takes the mound.

Those, however, are far better questions than they were asked (and surely were asking themselves) earlier this month.

As former Yankees manager Joe Torre used to say in his post-game interviews, a team needs to first aim for 5 games over, then, if they reach it, aim for 10 games, then 15 and onward. Now that they have reached the break-even mark, the Yankees can take that approach. 

Now it’s okay to dream bigger dreams then about mediocrity. With 118 games left, now the Yankees can start aiming for contention.

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