After losing ten of 11 games, the New York Yankees accomplished something last night that they haven’t in nearly a month. The Yankees have won consecutive games. The Yankees defeated the Kansas City Royals on Memorial Day 14-1, tallying five home runs and three in the first inning, then took the Royals down again Tuesday night with a 5-1 victory. The 19 runs scored the last two days almost equal the 29 runs the team scored in the ten losses.
A lot has contributed to the Yankees’ skid. Jacoby Ellsbury is on the 15-day DL with a knee sprain, Chase Whitley underwent Tommy John surgery, and Andrew Miller proved he was human when Ryan Zimmerman took him deep off the right field foul pole, giving Miller his first earned run all season. Prospect Slade Heathcott has been making an impact in the time he’s been getting, going 5-for-13 with three RBI’s. Even with a few missing faces and a few new ones, the Yankees still hold first place in the AL East, with a 24-22 record, a half-game better than the Tampa Bay Rays.
The problem the Yankees have been facing really hasn’t been from the offensive side. Yes, the whole idea of baseball is to drive in more runs than the other team, and they haven’t been doing that, but the struggles are also on the pitchers. Michael Pineda, the Yankees best starter’s ERA has risen to 3.59, after being under 3.00 a few weeks ago. C.C. Sabathia is not the ace he once was, already tallying up six losses and an ERA north of 5.00. Veteran Chris Capuano, who the Yankees called up when Whitley went down, is 0-2 in his starts with a 7.36 ERA.
But the past two days have been a lot better for the Bronx Bombers. Outscoring a very solid Royals team 19-2, with Nathan Eovaldi and Adam Warren delivering dominant performances just when they were most needed. The Yankees also smacked six home runs these past two days, and tallied up 21 hits in the process.
The Yankees need to keep up this high-powered offense until Ellsbury gets off the DL. Gardner has been good in the leadoff role, but he doesn’t pack the same punch that Ellsbury does when he’s atop the order. The bullpen has also looked very sharp the last two nights, with Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller both tossing scoreless innings as usual. Justin Wilson retired the batters he faced in order, and Jacob Lindgren made his major league debut, throwing two scoreless innings.
To continue with these winning ways, the starting pitching needs to get back on track, and veteran C.C. Sabathia needs to start pitching better and be a leader for the young Yankee pitching staff. The hitters are also beginning to step it up, with Mark Teixeira on a tear and pretty solid productivity throughout the lineup. The Yankees just need to continue playing solid ball until Ellsbury returns from the DL. Once he is back, the Yankees will begin to roll again and eventually run away with the AL East.