aaron judge yankees
Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees might have found their pace again after sweeping the Bronx leg of the Subway Series against the rival Mets.

Neither win was pretty, but the Yankees toughed out each win almost with ease. They hold an eight-game lead in the AL East and proved they can keep up with this juggernaut Steve Cohen-sponsored Mets team.

Make no mistake, this very much could have been a World Series dress rehearsal. This time, however, the Mets weren’t the team that swept two games in Queens.

Some takeaways:

Court is back in session. Aaron Judge broke out of his nine-game power outage and slugged two home runs in the series, including a 453-foot bomb on Tuesday. Judge also had a clutch RBI single to extend his team’s lead, once again reminding everyone he’s the hands-down American League MVP.

Back to basics. When the Yankees faced Max Scherzer in Queens last month, it was clear the lineup was waiting for him to make a mistake. That didn’t work out so well as Mad Max shut the Bronx Bombers down for seven innings.

On Monday, however, the Yankees were more aggressive and took the fight to Scherzer early. They did the same to Taijuan Walker the following day and only drew five total walks in the two games. Clearly, hitting coach Dillon Lawson reminded the hitters that the focus should be on making hard contact, not waiting out for a big hit. With a soft set of games ahead, the Yankees need to take this approach to heart.

The Yankees pitching is back. #YankeesTwitter was up in arms when Jordan Montgomery tossed a one-hit shutout for the Cardinals, and on 99 pitches. They must have missed Domingo German basically shutting the Mets down. Frankie Montas also finally had a strong start in a Yankees uniform, feeding into the series’ October energy.

Luis Severino is also on track to return soon, so the Yankees have options. However Aaron Boone decides to set his rotation for this final stretch, he certainly is playing with house money.

It’s tuneup time. The Yankees have won three in a row for the first time in nearly a month. Now, it’s time to see if they can keep extending the streak. Their next seven games are on the road against the lowly Oakland A’s and Los Angeles Angels. Both teams were swept at Yankee Stadium in May and have since fallen far out of the playoff picture.

The Yankees also get Giancarlo Stanton back Thursday, and we all see how much the lineup has missed him. New York can easily right the ship and close out the season on a high note, so these very winnable games are fairly important.

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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.