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The New York Yankees made the most of their week before the All-Star Break with big series wins in Seattle and Houston.

The New York Yankees needed a week to wake the team up after an awful, awful weekend against the New York Mets. After losing two of three to their crosstown rivals, could they really sink any lower against the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros on the road?

Good news, fans. The answer is a hard and resounding NO. In fact, the Yankees looked like the Bronx Bombers of old this past week. They entered two separate three-game series and performed like we’re used to seeing them: two big wins and an ugly loss in each.

There was passion. There was grit. Toughness was through the roof, and even with some theatrics.

There’s tons of work to be done after the All-Star Break but after this week, the New York Yankees should feel pretty good about themselves.


Slugging in Seattle

The Mariners are the worst hitting team in baseball and the New York Yankees were sure to remind them of that. Giancarlo Stanton’s three-run shot kicked off Tuesday’s game and the rest of the bats followed. On the mound, Jameson Taillon pitched seven strong innings in his best start as a Yankee thus far. New York won the game 12-1.

And on Wednesday, the team’s good fortunes continued. The offense put up a three-spot in the first inning again. Later, Aaron Judge hit a bomb to make it 5-1. The bullpen held it down to grind out a hard-earned 5-4 win.

This isn’t to excuse Thursday’s poor performance, when the New York Yankees had just one hit in a 4-0 loss. Yet, with some postgame theatrics, everyone knew something was brewing with this team.


Redemption in Houston

This past weekend marked the first time the Yankees returned to Minute Maid Park since the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal was uncovered. Needless to say, with Houston first in the AL West and New York struggling, getting slaughtered just didn’t seem fair.

Sure enough, the New York Yankees carried that gritty energy over from Seattle. Friday saw Nestor Cortes dominate in a spot start, and the bullpen did the rest in a 4-0 win.

Don’t get me wrong, Houston got their big win with a six-run ninth inning capped by Jose Altuve’s walk-off homer on Sunday. Yet, but that wasn’t the story of the series.

Rather, Gerrit Cole took the mound in his old home ballpark on Saturday and gave a career-defining performance. With only Judge’s solo homer for run support, Cole struck out 12 Astros hitters and threw a 129 pitch shutout. He even argued with Aaron Boone to stay in the game!

When Rocky Balboa fought Clubber Lang for the second time, he didn’t just walk through him. No, he took more than a few punches before finally scoring the KO.

And what does a random ’80s movie have to do with the New York Yankees taking two of three from the Astros? Well, the point is it doesn’t matter that the team didn’t pull off the sweep in Houston.

They still won the season series 4-2 and this past weekend, it wasn’t close as to who the better team was.


Looking ahead

The New York Yankees are tied for third place in the AL East and with little time to rest. Enjoy the All-Star Break, everybody. The season starts again Thursday with a four-game home set with the first-place Boston Red Sox.

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.