Time has passed. The Yankees haven’t won back-to-back games since late last month, so a win over the Blue Jays on Sunday and the Mets the next day gave them momentum they haven’t had in a while. However, Aaron Judge said it just reminded him of how the team felt during the first half of the season when they were the best team in baseball.
“Just bringing the intensity you know from the very first inning,” the batsman said of the Bombers finally stringing together the wins. “You can just feel a little different energy in the dugout.”
It was the Yankees’ best showing since July 29-30, the last time they won back-to-back games. The Bombers look to win their first series on Wednesday night as they have won three of four against the Royals with the last two coming in a row. Last month, the Mets beat the Yankees in Queens with a Yankees home run in the top of the second inning.
The judge also got good results — finally. The batter hit a nine-game home run a solo home run by Mets ace Max Scherzer for #47 for the season. That brings Judge back to his hot home run streak, which would challenge the American League record of 61 homers hit by Roger Morris in 1961.
Those homers may be more of a key to the Yankees getting back to winning ways than anything else. When hitters don’t hit a home run, they’re only 10-21, but when this offense does what it’s designed to do, like when Andrew Benintendi hit the winning homer on Sunday they are 65-27.
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There has been a lot of internal examination of the Yankees’ struggles. The offense was the most recent culprit, and it’s hard not to notice that it seemed to change when Giancarlo Stanton went on the injured list on July 24th. The Yankees also lost Matt Carpenter, with Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahier out with minor injuries. .
“We are in a difficult phase of our season. We had some attrition, we had some guys that hit a little bit. Obviously, the last couple of weeks have been a little bit of a struggle for us offensively,” Aaron Boone said. “I thought the last two games, other than the popup, we did a lot of really, really good things. From some really important guys in the bullpen who pitch in for us. Nestor [Cortes] from its beginning, Domingo [German] today with his start. I feel that [we made] a lot of really good defensive plays. A few key grips in bits. Today we hit the ball out of bounds. So that was good. Kick the ball out of bounds to a tie with Benny yesterday.
“You know, it’s good to get a couple of wins against really good opponents and good pitchers. But now we’re moving on to the next thing, and we keep our heads down and keep digging in,” the Yankees manager continued. “And getting myself back to playing this really consistent baseball in all phases.”
The Yankees have now won just six of their last 21 games and are just 6-14 in August. The Bombers are 11-20 since the All-Star break.
However, the Yankees have maintained their lead in the American League East since April 23. Despite being 15.5 games back on July 8, they still have an eight-game lead heading into Wednesday night.
And that was the basis of their faith that they would get back on track.
“Our confidence never wavered, no matter what,” Judge said. “We can be down a little bit after a couple of losses. but this team… we have a special group here, we have a special group of people who are mentally tough enough to pick themselves back up after a couple of tough streaks. And we know, hey, it’s been a long season and we haven’t played the type of ball we’d like to, but it’s time to get back to what we’re doing.”