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The New York Yankees continued their success at home with two key series wins against Houston and Washington.

The New York Yankees aren’t winning the prettiest, but they’re still winning.

The past week was more of the same for the Bronx Bombers. The Houston Astros came in for what proved the ultimate revenge series before the Washington Nationals swung by for the weekend.

New York took two games out of three in each series, and none of the wins were particularly pretty. There’s still plenty of work to be done at the plate and maybe we should be concerned about some players.

But the pitching has been practically Herculean headed into a road series with the arch-rival Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees are still 3.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox, but the team seems slowly hitting its full stride.

Playoffs in May

The pandemic forcing fans out of stadiums was absolutely the right call, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting just a bit that it meant fans couldn’t boo the Houston Astros. They cheated their way to winning a World Series and suddenly had the luxury of silence.

Well, not when they came to the Bronx last week, folks. Yankee Stadium had full October vibes despite her limited capacity and it being early May. Jose Altuve, whose walk-off home run in the 2019 ALCS ended New York’s season, was on the receiving end of language more colorful than Homer Simpson’s traffic record.

But the series’ defining moment came in the first game on Tuesday night, when DJ LeMahieu’s infield single led to an error and Rougned Odor trucking home.

Odor thankfully escaped with just a sprained knee, and the fans roared in admiration of his grit. The Yankees rallied late to win the second game, and it didn’t even matter that the bullpen blew Gerrit Cole’s stellar outing on Thursday. The Astros entered the belly of the beast, were roasted accordingly, and took their medicine.

Hopefully, enough Yankees fans fly to Houston when the Yankees visit in July so the party can continue!

Mother’s Day magic

The Washington Nationals are just like their country in that they’re young, scrappy, and hungry, but the New York Yankees weren’t throwing away their shot. Now that I’ve squeezed a Hamilton reference in with pretzel-like precision, let’s move on!

Friday night proved forgettable as Jonathan Loaisiga crumbled along with the defense late in the game. Max Scherzer was dominant on Saturday, but so was Corey Kluber. A Gleyber Torres walk-off in extra innings later, complete with a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay, the Yankees won the day.

24 hours later, Torres finally hit his first longball of the season before Giancarlo Stanton’s walk-off single. The young shortstop later said the home run was for his mom, and we suddenly forgot about the cruel irony of Domingo German pitching on Mother’s Day.

Looking ahead

The New York Yankees have plenty to be proud of after following up one strong week with another. As was pointed out on Sunday’s YES broadcast, the starting rotation has posted a 2.80 ERA in its last 20 games. The bullpen is being worked hard, but not to the point where the arms are already burned out.

Yet, the bats are still a worry despite Stanton batting .370 this month. Aaron Judge is proving concerningly streaky just when it seemed he was finally getting things right. Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks are both below the Mendoza line, and we may need to make peace with Gary Sanchez being Kyle Higashioka’s backup this season.

All this to say, the Rays aren’t going to be easy as the next phase of The Florida Project begins. They swept the Yankees in the Bronx last month, and we all know Tropicana Field’s vampiric effect on visiting teams. Make no mistake, maintaining the current momentum will be tough.

To put it another way, I would rather regularly have the nightmare about missing my 10th-grade geography final than prepare to face the Rays at the Trop for three days.

But the New York Yankees could have a secret weapon this time. Luke Voit tearing up his rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre means he could be ready to return from knee surgery. Additionally, the team announced Miguel Andujar was optioned to the alternate site following Sunday’s game.

One way or another, Voit will probably be back this week. Here’s hoping he kickstarts the lineup for this upcoming ten-game road trip.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.