Alas, it was a romp. The Yankees rolled the visitors with a three-game sweep in The Bronx, outscoring the Cubs by a 28-5 margin. The rebuilding North Siders never stood a chance, losing all their fight in Friday’s extra-innings loss.
The Yankees, on the other hand, showed no fatigue from three grueling games in Minnesota. American League MVP candidate Aaron Judge continued to push the front office to up their offer on a contract extension. The elite pitching was on full display. Even better, the Yankees’ depth was on full display.
The Yankees are in complete sync. To illustrate this point, we’re going to look at Friday’s 2-1 13-inning win. The Cubs and Yankees were a combined 1 for 37 with runners in scoring position. The sole hit was Jose Trevino’s walk-off single to win the game.
Look at it this way. In that type of game last season, the Yankees almost certainly would have lost. Not only that, the game probably doesn’t even get to extra innings. This year’s squad has a new attitude and embraces hard-fought games instead of crumbling. If that carries into the playoffs, then watch out for the Yankees.
Willson who? Speaking of Trevino, he continued to prove he belongs in the Bronx and that trading for Cubs backstop Willson Contreras isn’t necessary. On top of winning the game Friday, Trevino added three hits and tied his career high with his fifth home run on Saturday.
Contreras, meanwhile, was 1-for-10 in the series and mysteriously exited Sunday’s blowout loss early. There may have been a time when the Yankees trading for Contreras was a good idea. That time has now passed, and it’s Trevino’s turn.
We need to talk about Aaron Judge. There’s no more ignoring it, Yankees fans. Judge expects to be paid in free agency and well. The MVP candidate had six hits against the Cubs, including two home runs, batting .461 in three games. Judge raised his batting average to .318 and still leads the majors in OPS.
This will simply go one of two ways, but which? Will Judge go the Bernie Williams post-1998 route and re-sign with the only team he’s known after a career season? Or will he chase the money and prove an even more disappointing sequel to Robinson Cano?
Is Matt Carpenter the key? A week off was nothing for Carpenter, the latest Yankees’ folk hero. The former Cardinals veteran had three hits and seven RBI on Sunday, including two more home runs. In fact, all but two of Carpenter’s eight hits as a Yankee have been longballs.
Maybe it’s just a random hot streak that will peter out soon. Or, rather, perhaps Carpenter is the Brett Gardner-like veteran presence this Yankees team needs.
Don’t get too comfortable. Great as sweeping the Cubs over the weekend was, playtime is over for the Yankees. For the next two weeks, they will host the Rays, visit the Blue Jays, then visit the Rays again and then host the Astros. These are three very talented teams and none of the next 13 games will be easy. Two weeks from now, we’ll have a real idea of what to expect from these Yankees.