It’s been a while. The Yankees had not won back-to-back games since late last month, so beating the Blue Jays on Sunday and the Mets the next day was momentum they have not had in a while. Aaron Judge, however, said it just reminded him of the way the team felt in the first half of the season when they were the best team in baseball.
“Just bringing the intensity you know from the very first pitch,” the slugger said of the Bombers finally stringing together wins. “You can just feel a little different energy in the dugout.”
They were the best results the Yankees have had since July 29-30, the last time they won back-to-back games. Wednesday night, the Bombers are looking to win their first series since they won three out of four against the Royals with those last two consecutive wins. The Mets swept the Yankees last month in Queens at the beginning of the Yankees’ second-half slide.
Judge also got some good results — finally. The slugger snapped a nine-game home run drought with a solo shot off Mets’ ace Max Scherzer for No. 47 on the season. That puts Judge back on his torrid home run pace that will challenge the American League record, the 61 homers hit by Roger Maris in 1961.
Those homers may be more of a key to the Yankees getting back to winning than anything else. When the Bombers do not hit a home run they are just 10-21, but when this offense does what it is built to do, like when Andrew Benintendi hit a game-winning homer on Sunday, they are 65-27.
There has been plenty of internal examination about the Yankees’ struggles. The offense has been the most recent culprit and it’s hard not to notice that it seemed to turn when Giancarlo Stanton went on the injured list on July 24. The Yankees also lost Matt Carpenter, and Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu each missed time with minor injuries.
“We’re at a challenging point of our season. We’ve had some attrition, we’ve had some guys banged up a little bit. Obviously, the last couple of weeks have been a little bit of a struggle for us offensively,” Aaron Boone said. “In the last two games, I thought with the exception of the pop-up, we’ve done a lot of really, really good things. From some really important bullpen guys stepping up for us. Nestor [Cortes] with his start, Domingo [German] today with his start. I feel like [we made] a lot of really good defensive plays. Some key clutch at-bats. We hit the ball out of the ballpark today. So that was good. Hit the ball out of the ballpark yesterday with Benny in a tie game.
“So you know, it’s good to get a couple of wins against really good opponents and good pitchers. But, it’s kind of now on to the next one and keep our head down and keep digging ourselves out,” the Yankees manager continued. “And get ourselves back to playing that really consistent brand of baseball and in all phases.”
The Yankees have now won just six games out of their last 21 and they are just 6-14 in the month of August. Since the All-Star break, the Bombers are 11-20.
Still, the Yankees have maintained a lead in the American League East since April 23. While they had run that lead up to 15.5 games on July 8, they still hold an eight-game lead heading into Wednesday night’s game.
And that was at the core of their belief they would get back on track.
“Our confidence never wavered, no matter what,” Judge said. “We may get down a little bit after a couple of losses. but this team…. we got a special group here we got a special group of individuals that are mentally tough enough to kind of bounce back after a couple tough series. And we know, hey, it’s a long season and we haven’t played the type of ball we want to but it’s time to get back to what we do.”