The Yankees avoided a sweep with a signature lineup performance in Wednesday’s 12-6 win over the Twins. Even so, Minnesota won the season series over New York for the first time in over two decades.
Simply put, the Bronx Bombers have looked like anything but since losing Giancarlo Stanton to the injured list. The already depleted lineup doesn’t have much power, especially in the 5-9 spots. New York’s strong pitching can only do so much and still left something to be desired. Even in Wednesday’s win.
Being in fourth place and seven games back in the AL East may seem daunting, but it’s still April. This lost Twins series is just one bad performance and the Yankees can only move forward and play out of their slump.
The Kid comes alive. One good thing to come out of the last three games is Anthony Volpe finally seems comfortable at the plate. He hit .500 with three RBI in the series and finally showcased that hard pull hitting down the line which turned heads in spring training. His batting average is up to .228 and his on-base percentage (OBP) to .358.
Moving into the leadoff spot has proved the right move for Volpe and it makes sense that once he gets going, so should the rest of the lineup. That’s the leadoff man’s job. Kickstart the lineup by getting on base and letting the rest of the bats do the rest.
That doesn’t make the Yankees’ lineup any less injured, but Volpe leading by example and rallying the reserves may be what the team needs to stay competitive.
The Twins can keep up this time. A win is a win, but New York’s victory in Wednesday’s finale was largely Kenta Maeda’s continued struggles. The rest of the series, Sonny Gray and Joey Ryan carved up the Yankees to a combined 0.64 ERA. Gray, amid a sensational start to the season, lowered his own ERA to 0.62.
It’s strange because in a vacuum, a healthy Yankees lineup is probably still better than Minnesota’s best on paper. But the difference this time around is that the Twins’ pitching staff is great despite competing in the weak AL Central, not because of it. That’s an important lesson to remember come playoff time.
Come together. One standout from Wednesday’s game is the lineup, unlike in recent games, wasn’t trying too hard. We’ve seen this movie and its bad sequels too many times before. Giancarlo Stanton gets injured and everyone batting behind Aaron Judge tries too hard to fill the power void.
Not Wednesday. The Yankees seemed to realize that their key to winning for now is to play a game of base hits, not power. The heart of the order can take care of that. Everyone else just has to get on base via a walk or a hit, don’t worry about the big swing. Facing the struggling Maeda just happened to be a convenient jumpstart.
Well, 12 runs, 14 hits and a Judge injury scare later, let’s see this lineup do it again.