Just a few weeks ago the team was in disarray, and some of the less optimistic members of the fan base were giving up on the season (in May!) and predicting an October without Yankees baseball. The rotation was in a shambles, the bullpen was running on fumes, the reigning MVP was on the injured list along with several other important cogs, and Aaron Boone was being booed at the big ballpark in the Bronx. The mighty Yankees were in last place in the American League East. The End Times had arrived.
But over the past two weeks the Yankees have won 11 of 14 games and climbed out of the cellar and into third place. You may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”
First of all, Aaron Judge is good, and it’s good to have him back in the lineup. All he did upon his return was earn A.L. Player of the Week honors by slashing .500/.621/1.273 with five home runs, eleven RBIs, and a stolen base thrown in just for fun.
The home runs, though. A couple of them were the types that mere mortals might hit, standard shots that landed in the first few rows of the bleachers, but two in Toronto traveled over 450 feet each. The first broke Toronto hearts as conspiracy theorists were certain he had peeked into the dugout to get information about the pitch as it was being delivered, while the second broke an actual Toronto Maple Leaf, a plastic display beyond the bleachers in straight away center field, a problem park designers never could have foreseen.
We also got more evidence of something we’ve seen for quite a while from our new Captain. He’s never said anything remotely controversial in any postgame interview, but he’s secretly a low-key shit talker. We first saw this back in 2021 when Judge homered in Houston and clutched his jersey tightly as he rounded third. He was clearly referencing José Altuve’s similar (and controversial) gesture following his series-ending home run the previous October; after the game Judge “diffused” that talk by explaining he was just a bit chilly since the Astros always had the air conditioning on full blast. Sure.
After all the buzz about the dugout peek before that home run in Toronto, Judge took lots of abuse and cheating accusations from the fans in the bleachers as he stood at his post in right field. When he went deep again the next night, he pointed out towards those same fans while rounding first base and heading towards second; after the game he explained that he was actually pointing at the Yankee bullpen to acknowledge their hard work. Right.
Later in the dugout the cameras caught him celebrating with his teammates, and now he covered his eyes with his hands. No peeking.
Is he petty? Yes. Do I love it? Hell, yes.
Harrison Bader is also back, and he’s brought both his bat and glove. The added length to the lineup makes a huge difference — his big home run on Sunday turned the game for the Yankees — but anything he does with a bat in his hand is gravy. Last year we all convinced ourselves that Aaron Judge was a great center fielder, but this year we’ve seen that Bader is elite. Your eyes will tell you that, but the numbers back that up. Five days ago Katie Sharp tweeted that when balls are hit to him with a 75% catch probability or lower, Bader has caught seven of the nine, the highest success rate of any outfielder in baseball.
With Judge in right and Bader in center, the Yankees have Gold Glove caliber fielders in those two spots, which leaves… left field.
When the Yankees signed Aaron Hicks to a seven-year, $70 million deal prior to the 2019 season, it looked like a brilliant move. He was a high level centerfielder with an excellent arm and he had just hit a career-high 27 home runs with an OPS of .833. I don’t need to tell you this, but it was all downhill from there. Instead of providing solid defense in left and a switch hitting bat with pop towards the back end of the lineup, Hicks became an overpaid albatross and the target of merciless booing at the Stadium — and even on the road.
Hicks was finally released a few days ago, a disappointing end to a Yankee career that once held so much promise. I always rooted for him — both because he’s from my hometown, Long Beach, California, and because it’s always good to have someone who looks like me wearing the Yankee pinstripes. It was the right move, but I’m still a little sad about it.
There are other things swirling about. All members of the starting rotation not named Gerrit Cole remain an enigma. Nestor Cortés has been inconsistent, the legend of Carlos Rodón has yet to materialize, and Clarke Schmidt is Clarke Schmidt. Domingo Germán has shown brilliance on a few occasions, but that only makes him more maddening; he’s currently serving a ten-game suspension for pitching with an illegal substance on his hand. He had been checked and warned before, and Schmidt was checked and warned during Germán’s suspension, so it seems like the blame lies as much with the organization as it does with the players.
But just as the lineup has benefited from the reinsertion of Judge and Bader, the rotation suddenly looks a lot more viable with the addition of Luís Severino, who was virtually unhittable in his season debut against the Reds on Sunday.
As much as we like to wring our hands and worry that this team can’t possibly play with the Rays or the Dodgers or the Astros or whichever team is the scariest, the cupboard is far from bare. The surge of the last two weeks has allowed everyone to breathe, and with Cole on the mound tonight to start an important series with the Baltimore Orioles (and when was the last time the Yankees and O’s played an important series?), things are looking up for the first time in weeks, maybe for the first time all season.
So if you were born in the shadow of the old Stadium, if a parent or grandparent brainwashed you in your youth, if you were drawn by Mantle or Munson or Mattingly or Jeter, or if you fell in love when you convinced your parents to take you to a game during a family vacation to New York City, take a minute to be grateful that you hitched yourself to this team way back when. Have there been frustrations and heartbreak and incomprehensible trades? Sure, just like any other team. But through it all, we’ve been the luckiest fans in the world.
Hope everybody is ready for a wild and wacky week of channel flipping:
Your TV schedule:
Tuesday: YES / MLB.tv
Wednesday: Amazon Prime
Thursday: YES / MLB.tv
I think I’m scheduled for all Orioles broadcasts, as I’m in market.
I lucked into 4 out of 5 ... but just like the NFL ... as broadcasting splinters onto more and more streaming paychannels ... if I'm NOT already paying for them for other reasons, there's a 0% chance I'm going to start paying for them now.
I have Amazon Prime, so ... OK; I have a free l/p to Peacock, so ... OK.
I don't have Apple+ and GUESS WHAT?
I still won't come Saturday morning.
Hey Rob Manfredjinsinjin ... I'm FAR closer to just ditching MLB.tv than signing up for a bunch of additional streaming services, so ...
Oh ... that's just f'ng great start to the series.
Please no DP again, Ratso.
Sigh ... do I have to tell EVERYONE not to hit into a DP???
That’s better, Cole.
2K Ks for Cole!
Weird Willie ... Gary Coleman's head on John Kruk's five-years-after-retirement body.
And hits about as well ...
Howdy everyone! Catching up on the Yanks, are the Orioles really actually a good team now? Why ain’t Cole mowing them down?
I see my man East Hill (Higashioka) is still batting under .200
Ohayo, Cult! How’s the big T?
Spring morning here with my dog, coffee and the game on while catching up on some work.
Oh wow, convicted financial fraudster Michael Milkenn back in the booth! Do the Yankees just go out their way to be distasteful??
 Now all we need is some Nostra!
Ugh ... 3-0 ... no es bueno from Cole.
Bader can really run and get it!
Watching Bader play CF is a treat.
The 8 year old wee one is enjoying her soccer team. I got to miss whatever led to this 3-0 deficit. Lame.
Stop giving up meatballs, Cole.
Thanks a bunch, Gerrit.
 Pitches like that lead to this deficit
Cole was supposed to win the CYA this year, what is this nonsense?
Thank you Harrison
 Jazz, we gotta make a date to visit Jingu before they tear it down.
 MASTER ;>)
Noice. Keep it going.
Weird Willie ... shakes head, sighs.
Uh, Garrit, baby. We need a shut down.
GET HIM OUT OF THERE!
4-4! Os in business. Grrr......
5-4 ... on back-to-back squibs
Could have been worse.
It's a drag when we can't count on Cole for a good game.
They should get Pete Rose to do a Fanduel ad.
[sigh] It's time for my late morning nap.
HOLY SHIT THAT WAS FUCKING AWFUL!
Rizzo is soooo good.
Weird Willie is ... not.
Steal 3rd. Then home.
Rizzo is sooooooooooo good.
ALL FUCKING RISE!
101 outside corner fastball ... strike 1
100 inside corner fastball ... strike 2
88, hanging slider ... TIE GAME!
Sorry, 88 shitty splitter.
 You. Chose. Poorly.
The nap did it. I knew Judge would come through.
Alright ... let's put this game to bed ... now!
Behold ... the Falafel.
Oh, Lord, cometh the bunt.
Oh, dear, this is going to be a contact play situation, right?
Wow. Merridith makes him look small. I didn't realize she was that big.
Wow! Great Win. Maybe the best of the season.
Man, I'm beginning to have faith in this team.
 She was quite the hottie when she was young and thin.
That was dope.
RIP Tina Turner.
Uh oh, tarp on the field.
Tarp still on, but radar looks promising.
Around 8:40 according to rlyw.
Tarp coming off
I missed the tater last night! Great win against the frisky young O’s.
RIP Queen Tina..
I have NO damn idea whether this will be on Amazon Prime or not ... so far, not.
 Frisky Young O's was a Bowie cover, right?
Jays starting to come back against the Rays
(77) James Taylor
Ah ... tonight's Amazon Prime broadcast is on ... MLB.tv?
OK, fine with me.
TIME FOR BASEBALL!
HI OK Jazz!
Cult! I’m lisitening ti Tony Williams’ Lifetime this morning while doing laundry, needed some energy
 I'm listening to ... The Funkees - Dancing Time: The Best of Eastern Nigeria's Afro Rock Exponents 1973-77
The Freak Folk of Mangrovia
(83) I know The Funkees from a different Nigeria comp! Awesome!
Yeah, I think the label that released the album I linked above had ALSO, previously released some of their stuff on a compilation disc they put out before hand.
 The Freak Folk?
 How about Goat?
They're from Sweden.
Oh, great ... walk Mateo.
Now a hit ... yay!
I'mma mark Higgy down for a K ... right now.
EVERYBODY GLEYBER NOW!
Watched some of the Mets game during the delay. I live in Jackson Heights not far from Citi Field so always keep an eye on them but rarely have a chance to watch. A really bland and boring team to watch this year, glad we've got a Yankees team that with its ups and downs keeps me wanting to watch.
Meant to say even with * its ups and downs
 I don't think we're done with that, for better or worse ... most likely both.
Mountcastle can crush them seems like
Blargh ... Nestor's reaction said it all.
ALL HAIL THE FALAFEL SHOW!
ALERT: IKF has the two toughest legs of the cycle out of the way.
ALERT: It’s Gleyber Day.
More Gleyber Day.
Man... I'm really getting used to the Yankees winning!
Watching baseball is fun again!
 Sure beats where we were about a month ago ...
Just caught the highlights on twitter. Nice home runs. Whoo-hoo!
Nestor with 77 pitches thru 6. Pretty good.
GET. SOMEONE. UP. NOW!
 No longer so good
Yup ... too late to unfuck that debacle.
You thought this was gonna be easy?
I wasn't quite expecting Cortes to pull an HMS Hood.
O's game plan: hit it to Volpe.
OH my dear lord...
Boone-y: Let me think ... game on the line ... really important game ... who should I bring in???
Oh, right ... Jimmy Cordero.
It's all set up for another comeback victory.
WE MUST PLAY HIGGY!
This inning is leading me to anger.
Cue: Yackety Sax
Watching baseball is not fun anymore.
More Boone-y stupid.
I just ... we're NEVER winning anything with Boone-y
8 runs ... 8.
Good job, Boone-y.
The bullpen, which has be stellar had an off day. It happens.
 Bad decisions and bad managing leads more directly to bad outcomes.
 And saying Jimmy Cordero had a bad day is essentially the same as saying Jimmy Cordero woke up today and pitched.
Raining again ... good.
When it rains it pours.
I might still believe if this team can score a run here.
That was a WILD wild pitch
Hold on to your hats!
Aside from Judge, Ratso is the one guy you want up here or any any crucial point in the game.
i know they can, I Know They Can, I KNOW THEY CAN!
Damn ... but wow!
Nope ... that was, in the end ... a pathetic inning.
Dang. That was set up perfectly.
Can't win 'em all.
Should win the ones you're up 5-1 in the 7th.
Too little too late, Volpe. That ball you missed in the 7th was the game.
Should have another plan besides ... bring in your worst reliever.
 Positive vibes, man. Positive vibes.
Gad, I've turned into Booney. ;>)
In ANY case, I hope the Yankees rally, but I've seen enough for tonight.
No rally in their bones tonight.
Get 'em tomorrow. We're gonna need the bullpen for the Schmidt factor.
You can dislike Boone, but you can’t blame every loss on him. I don’t see any problems with what he did tonight. And how is Cordero the worst reliever? He’s been good, he just wasn’t good tonight.
Sure I can ... he wasn't prepared for Cortes to suddenly, catastrophically melt down from one inning to another ... even though that's exactly what Cortes KEEPS doing start after start.
I'd have had someone tossing starting in the 6th ... not having the bullpen ready in the 7th is ... well ... pure Boone-y.
I bet Cordero might have done a bit better if he had been properly warmed instead of hastily warmed because Boone-y got caught sleeping.
As he does.
Paulie's starting to thin up top ... me feel old.
Come on blue, even the Os announcers are calling them strikes. Of course it is Jim Palmer.
Bring on the robot umps ... now.
I don't know how to look up esoteric stats... but does anybody know when is the last time the Yankees gave up EIGHT run in one inning?
I'm SO sick of these "personal" strike zones.
Can't come fast enough.
"In Triple-A games this season, the day of the week matters. On Tuesdays through Thursdays, the strike zone is adjudicated by Major League Baseball’s automated ball-strike system (ABS), which tracks pitches using a dozen ultra-high-speed cameras and spits out the result into an earpiece worn by the home-plate umpire in less than half a second. Even though Hendriks’ fastball appeared to clip the edge of the zone on the digital rendering of the pitch seen in MLB’s app and on its website, ABS deemed it a ball—and the system, which the league says is accurate to less than one-tenth of an inch, is judge and jury."
29 pitches to get out the inning ... thanks Tony and thanks Ump!
Alright, let's cash Gleyber in.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand there's the borderline strike he didn't give Schmidt.
Just fuck off, umps.
More bad strike calls.
And ... Boone-y rightfully loses it and gets thrown out.
Missed it. Had to drive my grand niece and nephew home and do it before dark.
Rizzo might have done better.
5 innings ... 1 run ... from Schmidt?
I'll take it!
I think the Yankees need to swap Peraza and Cabrera, ASAP
Ah, more stellar defense.
I can hear Scooter bemoaning the lack of bunting skills.
One hit ... ONE
Are you freaking kidding me? Another error. It should be an error.
That's TWICE tonight that the Yankees made an error and it wasn't given.
When is the last time Cabrera hit a ball hard ... I mean even for an OUT?
So ridic to be sitting 2 rows behind Joe Torre and seeing this lack of offense.
Make poopy noise here ... now.
 Bet you loved watching that one!
It's been a long wait, but I'm really warming up to Rortvedt (or however you spell it).
He's fun to watch. It looks like he's a better catcher than Higgy. I know, low bar.
Rortvedt worked 2 walks ... his reward?
Being pinch hit for.
This team ... sigh.
 Don't get me started ... had a long, drawn out beef with someone over Rortvedt.
"He's fun to watch. It looks like he's a better catcher than Higgy. I know, low bar."
You HAVE to understand ... in Boone-y's mind, THAT would not matter.
Higgy is Trevino's backup, so, with Trevino out ... Higgy becomes the starter.
Regardless if he's the 2nd best catcher currently on the roster.
I, personally would have played Rortvedt every. single. game. during this stretch ... just to see if there was something there, but ... no ... that's not the Boone-y way.
 Good point. One can always hope.
That Higgy is randomly attacked by a bear while walking to his car?
From 5-1 up in the 7th in game 2, thinking of a sweep, to losing 2 out of 3 ... these are the games a season swings on.
OMG ... Rortvedt is getting a 2nd start in a row!!!
Someone needs to check and see if Boone-y was kidnapped by aliens!
Sigh, Apple+ game.
Yup ... Gameday for me!
I like the AppleTV graphics, but who are the announcers? Yawn..
Boatzilla, just saw your post above, let’s hit Jingu for sure! Hit me up offline
It appears that bats need hats.
It's hard to work up a good grump when following Gameday
 Dontrelle Willis is one of the announcers.
I'm glad this crap is on Apple+
No pinch hitter for IKF?
Interesting that in the obligatory Padres/Yankees montage of "greats" who wore both uniforms, Apple decided to go with Chase Headley instead of Goose Gossage.
Required reading ...
DAY BASEBALL ... my favorite!
Who the HELL is the 3rd base coach ... he's obviously is the reincarnation of a WWI General ... more than happy to send his boys to their deaths!
What a HORRIBLE send ... he was waving the runner home as the relay man was LITERALLY receiving the throw ... it was a massacre.
6-7-8-9 in this lineup is just painful to watch swing the bat.
How about scoring more than one run.
Is that even legal?
Yankees D = Dreadful.
Immediately leads to a run.
Got 3 out of 4 on the trivia question ... missed Chase Headley.
TAG ON THAT FUCKING BALL!!!!!
Tatis Jr, Bogaerts, Soto and Machado is a pretty amazing 2-3-4-5. I'm surprised they aren't doing better in the standings.
Alright ... we'd better win it here, otherwise I don't think it's going to happen.
Bring on the Manfred Men!
Overturned! And quickly too.
A WALK OFF FALAFEL!
Falafel comes through!
Wow. I thought it was a tie goes to the runner situation.
MLB TV is way behind. As of now, I am still less than 1/2 way thru the commercial.
Extra nice since Rough Odor KEPT making plays at 3rd.
 From the previous inning?
 Did you mute the commercials?
Don't do that ...
Falafel coming up to bat now...
2 and 0 on IKF.
Greetings ... down already.
Shit! We can't even rely on Cole anymore.
All Rise, tied up.
Padres 3 Keystone cops 1
I'm turning the sound down on this game and playing Yakety Sax as a proper backdrop.
Hey, walking the terrorists in the rain after Sunday dinner worked!
Everyone is joining the hit parade.
I left after the 2nd inning (to throw up).
Nice to come back to 7 runs.
Hopefully Cole can hold this one.
And a nice shut down inning.
Ha! Uh oh
So 8 isn’t going to be enough.
Huh ... I picked the right or wrong time for a nap ... c'mon Holmes!
Hurt neck for Ratso. Boone says he’ll play tomorrow. Oh joy, West Coast games. Way past my bed time.