yankees padres takeaways
Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees took two out of three from the visiting Padres over Memorial Day Weekend and, per usual, came from behind to do it. New York still sits third in the AL East and seven games behind Tampa Bay.

But as a series, it was a fun watch. The Padres proved a competitive team despite their fourth-place standing in the NL West. The Yankees took the series despite recent quiet bats and more than a few bad mistakes in the field. All told, there was almost a playoff energy through all three games, making a potential October matchup intriguing.

Some takeaways:

“Slam” Diego is real. You’d never guess that the Padres were MLB’s worst-hitting team coming into this series. San Diego kept up nicely with New York at the plate as both teams each scored 14 runs across three games. The Padres also hit five home runs to the Yankees’ three, including a pair of long ones from Fernando Tatis Jr.

San Diego’s effort over the weekend was enough to bump the team’s batting average ahead of lowly Oakland for 29th in MLB. And better yet, it was accomplished without star infielder Manny Machado. The Padres can get back in the race fast once he returns from his broken wrist.

Luis Severino to the rescue. The Yankees’ pitching staff ranking seventh in baseball with a 3.72 ERA is actually a testament to the bullpen. New York’s starters rank 15th in MLB with a 4.29 ERA. Having Jhony Brito, Domingo German, and Clarke Schmidt covering three spots in the rotation has that effect.

The good news is Luis Severino pitched even better in his second start of 2023. He tossed 6.2 innings and may have completed the full seven if not for Gleyber Torres’ error. His ERA is a stellar 1.59 through two starts and he looks to be in ace form already.

Sevy doing his thing gives the Yankees some relief while Gerrit Cole works out his issues with the long ball.

Stay aggressive at the plate. Whatever had the Yankees averaging nine hits a game against the Padres needs to follow them to Seattle. The Mariners’ arms rank third in MLB with a 3.53 ERA, and both Logan Gilbert and Luis Castillo are expected to pitch in the series. Waiting for either to make a mistake is practically a fool’s errand.

The Yankees employed this very approach against Yu Darvish on Sunday: Swing at pitches in the zone and put them in play. No waiting for that one fastball or a hanging breaking pitch. If a pitch was in the zone, New York was swinging.

It also helps that the Yankees’ lineup is about to get healthier. Jose Trevino will return from his strained hamstring on Tuesday and Josh Donaldson’s rehab assignment is going well. Giancarlo Stanton should also start his own fairly soon.

Who knew that it would be nearly June before the Yankees’ lineup was, dare we say it, a fully operational Death Star?

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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.