Yankees: Must We Genuflect -And Is This Thing Is Really Going To Work?

Aaron Boone: Forced to be the Yankees Spin Master (ESPN)

Are we supposed to believe the Yankees can field the same lineup as last year and win it all this year? Doggonit, they just might do it.

The Yankees accepted their perennial accolades from Las Vegas before Opening Day, predicting that they and the Los Angeles Dodgers will be meeting in the 2021 World Series.

The idea was, number one, no one in the American League East had enough to prevent the Yankees from winning the division, whereupon they would sit home while the Wild Card teams fought to emerge further in the postseason.

Mired in last place, though, for the better part of two weeks, the Yankees have come alive reeling off a 7-3 stretch that has seen the team climb back to the proverbial .500 mark that is supposed to be a launching pad for any team in serious contention.

Only a week or two ago, there were on the mark questions about the ability of Las Vegas, where the casinos never lose money, to “pick a winner.”

Yankees Reach Up To Answer The Questions

Yankees fans had questions too, especially when it looked like the Yankee’s investment of a much-needed $11 million toward the luxury tax limit on Corey Kluber would turn out to be a bust, as Kluber struggled to regain the pedigree of the two Cy Young awards he had earned – way back when – but he has – in spades.

<a rel=Yankees "Big Guys" Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton
Yankees “Big Guys” Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton

Or, Giancarlo Stanton would be able to play in eleven of thirteen games during one of those stretches every team dreads, and he would have six home runs and 15 RBI, a pace that will bring him to 36 HR and 90 driven home?

Or, that the “soreness” in the lower frame of Aaron Judge’s back that kept him out of two games would not be more of the double-talk we are used to hearing from Aaron Boone – and that Judge would have a team-leading seven HR and 18RBI?

<a rel=Kyle Higashioka moving fast to replace Gary Sanchez
Kyle Higashioka moving fast to replace Gary Sanchez

Or, that dawn would finally bring a sun rising in the sky that finally says – Kyle Higashioka is the catcher Yankees pitcher want to throw to. He has earned the right to do so, giving way to Aaron Boone to softly, but assuredly, let Gary Sanchez down to find his rightful place on the bench.

Or, that maybe Gleyber Torres would thrust aside his defense deficiencies in favor of bringing his offensive talents forward, with the hope of achieving his stature on the Yankees from 2019, letting Boone deal with the rest.

Or, that the Yankees could have come back from an atrocious start without last year’s American League home run champion, Luke Voit, a presence in the clubhouse as well as on the field.

And we could go on…

Yankees: Are They Hungry Enough?

But beneath the surface lurks a team that is hungry to correct the past.

So many false starts in the playoffs over the last few years, a World Championship that dates back to 2009 when only Brett Gardner can remember the feeling of winning…

Together with an owner in Hal Steinbrenner who signs all the checks, he needs to – but no more – as he looks on without a hint of fire in his eyes, expecting only generous dividend checks to be handed out to shareholders in December of each year.

Yet with all of this, there is an element of hope based on the lineup we see posted every game by Aaron Boone, a lineup that exists only on paper, but if we look deeper, there is a resurgent team that is ready to make it all real.

<a rel=Former Yankee's Manager Joe Torre reporting for work (Steve Contursi, Reflections On Baseball)
Former Yankee’s Manager Joe Torre reporting for work (Steve Contursi, Reflections On Baseball)

A record of .500 is nothing to write home about, even though the Yankees trail the Red Sox and Toronto in the all-important loss column by only two games.

But it is, as Joe Torre liked to say, a stepping stone upon which he managed his Yankees’ teams to five over, then ten, then fifteen games over.

He did this by winning series, which remains the challenge of this Yankees team as we move forward.

Two of three against the Astros, Nationals, Rays, Orioles, and Rangers – all upcoming in the Yankee’s schedule.

The Yankees have shown the best brand of their baseball over the last week. Starting pitchers are rolling, and Aroldis Chapman is hitting 102 on the gun, with Jonathan Loisigia supporting the bullpen.

But when all systems point to go – it’s time to go.

May will not decide the Yankees or any other team’s season. But wins accumulated now will surely make the long haul and the harsh days of summer a whole lot easier if the wake-up call and resurgence continue now.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

I’m glad the Yankees did what they needed to do and beat up those bad teams (Indians, Orioles, and Tigers) on that 11 game stretch… but they HAVE to be competitive against the GOOD teams… the teams they would face in the playoffs. But going 8-3 over the last 3 series is the first step…
I am sorry but we are not beating the Dodgers or the Padres. Our philosophy works in the regular season but not in the postseason.
CJ Claffey

Totally agree. Flawed concept. Pitching takes over in the series and strikeouts are not the way to go and that’s what we do.

Not a chance. Need guys on base, situational hitting, and better defense
Everyone demolished the Tigers. The White Sox shut them out in both games of a doubleheader before they came to New York. They are the worst team in baseball. Wouldn’t it be great to see them win a game or 2 in Fenway?
If only Hicks and Frazier get going and Sanchez too, the lineup would be great.
The problem the last offseason was the pitching so if Kluber, Taillon, German & Gumby can pitch to their potential with Severino as a wild card and Loaisiga starting to look like an elite arm out of the pen there is absolutely no reason they can’t.
Their pitching hasn’t been bad unless decimated by injuries for a decade. It’s situational hitting. Stranding runners on base. Failure to advance the runner. Ever since they started worshipping sabermetrics and forgot about lefty hitters we have not won. I say we trade Aaron Boone for joe Girard and throw in Brian Cashman for salary cap purposes
I think they need a whole new coaching staff and get coaching that actually pushes for the players to play the game the right way and improve themselves
Wild card win, Divisional round elimination. Good enough for Hal to not fire Boone and not fire Cashman
Their record is 15-14 but if you really looked, you would notice that the most games any team has won are 18. What team do you think has proven that they are a “true contender”.
The Yankees still have defensive issues and still need to tweak this team by trade or trades. Judge and Stanton are two players that can’t stay healthy and that is a problem. Guys of that age need to be on load management is pathetic.SP is still questionable, despite some good showings because the staff also has its own injury history.
Last night’s game is the best I’ve seen in a long time. Like a playoff game without the cheating. NY fans make a big difference. July 1st, hopefully, 100% capacity.

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.