It took losing to the MLB-worst Athletics on Tuesday for the Yankees to finally come alive at the plate.
Even better, Domingo German rewarded his 11 runs of support with a perfect game.
Add Aaron Judge slowly resuming baseball activities, and the Yankees did practically everything in Oakland except sweep the series.
Chicken parm power. Anthony Volpe might need to give out his family’s chicken parm recipe. The Yankees’ rookie shortstop has been on a tear since what’s become a legendary dinner at home with former minor league teammates, batting .348 since June 13.
Volpe’s average for the year is still only .212, but he’s batting .250 in June and the adjustments he made are clearly working. The rest of the team is finally starting to heat up behind him too. Next, he’ll have to convince Anthony Rizzo to go eat his namesake sandwich and hopefully hit his first home run since May 20.
Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton stepped up. The Yankees’ greatest issue aside from Aaron Judge’s injury was nobody in the lineup stepping up in his absence. That finally changed in Oakland when both Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson came through with some big hits.
Stanton had three hits in the series, including a home run Wednesday and a booming double Thursday. He’s still batting just .198 on the year, but the former MVP in him is finally awakening.
Speaking of former MVPs, Donaldson also showed up for the Yankees in Oakland. All three of his hits were for extra bases, including two home runs. He’s still a net negative for the Yankees, but it’s a relief that Donaldson’s power isn’t completely gone.
Is the season back on track? The spiraling St. Louis Cardinals are next, but the Yankees are still third in the AL East and 9.5 games behind the Rays. That’s certainly not bad considering Judge has been out all month, but the rest of the season will be an uphill battle.
The good news for the Yankees is that they don’t need to win every single game for the rest of their season, only most of them. Closing the gap and even leapfrogging second-place Baltimore in the near future seems doable. Now that the lineup is starting to come together, perhaps some signature Yankees baseball is on the way.