Just over a month into the 2021 MLB Regular Season, the Yankees are sitting at 2 games over .500 at 18-16, and 3.5 games back of the first-place Red Sox. I would also never like to type the words “first place Red S*x” again, so it would be nice if the Yanks can overtake them soon. Anyways, 34 games in and the Yankees have already had a rollercoaster season filled with bad defense, bad pitching, and worse hitting for a disgusting 2 week stretch that saw the Bronx Bombers go 3-9 from April 7-21. But since the day after that stretch, April 22, the Yanks have rebounded to win 5 straight series and go 12-5 overall. In the span of just over 4 weeks, we have seen the lowest of lows for the Yankees, and then we have seen them play some of the best baseball in the league. Think that’s an overreaction? Take a look at these 2 games:
On April 16th, against the dreaded Rays, the Yankees managed no runs in 6 innings against Michael Wacha, WHO HAD A 7 ERA ENTERING THE GAME!! This game also saw the defense commit 3 errors, combined with the pitching faltering to lose the game 8-2. However, then the Yanks have a game like the one on May 5th against the Trashtros. Jordan Montgomery went 6 innings for 3 runs, the bullpen was perfect, and the offense pushed across 6 runs in a game started by Luis Garcia, who had a 2.70 ERA entering the game. “That’s Baseball, Suzyn.”
So what has enabled the Yankees to turn the page so significantly in such a short period of time? Let’s start with the offense. In 7 games from April 13-21, the offense managed to score 3 runs four times. Not going to win too many baseball games scoring 1 and 2, because Gerrit Cole has off days in between starts. All of a sudden, Giancarlo Stanton has become ridiculously hot, tearing the cover off every baseball he hits. Gleyber Torres has looked more like his rookie year self, pushing the ball to right field and knocking his first home run of the year yesterday. DJ LeMahieu is starting to round into form, with a .313 average in May to go with a .421 OBP in the month as well. Even Aaron Hicks has jumped into the fun, boasting a .500 OBP in May, which is his most valuable trait.
The defense has been very good lately, except for the 8th inning atrocity the other night against the Nationals. You could make the argument that the 8th inning on May 7 was a war crime committed against all Yankees fans. The bullpen has been awesome all year, with some hiccups this week, but you can’t be perfect. The starting pitching has even come around, with Corey Kluber, Domingo German, Jameson Taillon, and Jordan Montgomery pitching much better as of late to back up Cole at the head of the rotation. Any chance the starting pitching being better as of late has anything to do with Kyle Higashioka, AKA “The Best Ever,” getting more playing time at catcher than Gary Sanchez?
The bottom line is that the team has been turned upside down in the last 2-3 weeks, and thank goodness for that. This team was unwatchable and dead in a ditch 3 weeks ago. A 7-2 homestand, capped off by 2 walkout wins courtesy of Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton and they have reeled me ALLLLLLL the way back in, and I am fully convinced that the World Series is ours.