Today’s Yankees are living up to the power hitting teams of yesteryear in the Bronx, as the 1st place club has boasted some serious offense through 35 games this year.
The 26–9 team from the Bronx is 3.5 games ahead of any other squad in the MLB heading into their Tuesday night contest against the Baltimore Oriels, and they’ve been running away with a 5.5-game lead in the AL East — ahead of their divisional rival Tampa Bay Rays.
The team’s bullpen has been a large contributor to their success on the season, propelled by Clay Schmidt, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Gerrit Cole, along with the relief efforts of closer Aroldis Chapman.
Still, the high-powered offensive lineup has been the biggest driver of the team’s impressive young season — including 3 batters who rank among the top-5 most prolific home run hitters in the MLB this year.
Fan-favorite Aaron Judge leads the league with 12 long balls on the year, while Giancarlo Stanton and Anthony Rizzo have both sent balls over the outfield fence twice on the year.
Rizzo, who began the season on a stellar hot-streak, had fallen into a slump in recent weeks, before rebounding with his first homer since April 26 in the team’s 6–2 victory over Baltimore on Monday night.
“When you get into ruts like that, at-bats like that one can help,’’ Rizzo told reporters after the game. “Even the outs today felt better. One swing can switch it on.”
Judge’s stellar play of late is particularly important beyond this season, as he is set to hit free agency for the first time in his career after the year, which comes after he was “disappointed” by the inability to agree on a contract extension with the Pinstripes.
That bet on himself, which involved rejecting a down an 8 year, $230.5 million deal, appears to be paying off so far.
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Only Twins slugger Byron Buxton and Astors DH Yordan Álvarez rank alongside the trio of Yankees for the most homers, with 11 each.
In total, the Yankees have hit 52 home runs this year, which is 3 more than the Astros, who have the 2nd-most with 49.
Their power hitting has been a blessing, as the team has not reached base at the rate fans we’re expecting, as they boast the 9th most hits (282), and the 5th highest on base percentage (.325) in the MLB.
But, when three batters are outpacing the rest of the league with home runs, that more-than-compensates for the team’s hot-and-cold hitting.
After tonight’s game against Baltimore, the two teams will face off again on Wednesday and Thursday, before returning to the Bronx for a series against the Chicago White Sox, beginning on Friday.