The New York Yankees would finish April with a 15-8 record, sharing first place in the American League East with the Baltimore Orioles. The starting pitching has been dominant at times early in the season. The team also seems to consistently be in every game with a chance to win in the 9th, which we saw again tonight as the team fell to the Orioles in extra innings after tying the game late. A team that many thought was a year away from playoff contention during a rebuild season seems to be on track for at least a shot at making some noise in October.
There’s not much to say about the pitching other than it’s been pretty solid all around. Sabathia has given up early runs in his last 2 starts but the bats always seem to keep the game close. Tanaka seems to be getting better with every start. Severino and Pineda have been electric. Jordan Montgomery has pitched well, but the run support hasn’t shown up in his last 2 starts. The bull pen seems to be holding their ground as well, with nothing to realistically complain about.
One of the major standouts thus far has been rookie right fielder Aaron Judge. Standing at 6 foot 7 and weighing in at over 280 pounds, he looks like a guy who would be right at home on the football field, but he plays the outfield just as well as anyone, and is an absolute monster at the plate. During his limited action last year, Judge flashed prodigious home run power, but struck out far too often. This year, through April he has 10 home runs, 20 RBIs, and is hitting .303 with an OBP of .402. He is a must see player every time he comes up to bat. He may just hit a ball over the Yankee Stadium bleachers before the season is over.
The depth on the roster has been impressive thus far with Austin Romine and Ronald Torreyes stepping in for injured starters. Starting catcher, Gary Sanchez went down with an injury to his bicep early in the month. While many thought this would be a huge setback for the team, Austin Romine stepped up and performed more than admirably in his place batting .314 with 10 RBIs. Torreyes came in at Short Stop when Didi Gregorius was injured during the World Baseball Classic, and is also batting over .300 with 13 RBIs through April. As Didi recently was reinserted into the line-up and Sanchez looks to return later next week, quality depth all around the diamond is nice to see.
The baseball season is a long haul, and the Yankees will probably cool down a bit at some point, but something feels different about this team compared to years past. When down by multiple runs, the players never look to get too down on themselves in the dugout and late inning success may have them believing that they are never out of a game. Everyone looks like they are genuinely having fun out there. Of course, that’s what winning can do for a ball club. We’ll see if they can keep the ball rolling. If they do they are likely looking at a 85-90 win season and a shot at the playoffs.
The Yankees will host the Toronto Blue Jays tomorrow night for game 1 of a 3 game series.