Aaron Judge has carried the New York Yankees all season. Judge did so again by winning a game Sunday afternoon against division foes, the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees are coming off their worst month of baseball since 1991. September didn’t get New York off to a good start, either. Hopes started high, though, as the Yankees made the long-awaited move to call up top shortstop prospect Oswald Peraza. However, Friday afternoon, they decided not to put the kid in the starting lineup.
Many call for fundamental changes in how the Yankees are managed and coached, but we’ll have to wait and see what happens this winter. While the offseason is still far away, the Bronx Bombers now hold a five-game lead in the AL East. Every player not wearing No. 99 has been nothing short of expectations. With one month of the regular season, the Yankees must get it together quickly.
Amid a team-wide slump, “The Judge” has remained unaffected by what’s around him. At Tropicana Field, the four-time All-Star hit his 52nd and 53rd homers of the season. He is now merely eight home runs away from tying the long-standing American League record held by Roger Maris, 61. There may be an “asterisk” in the minds of some fans, but the fact is Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds, PEDs or not, all hit more than 61.
The 30-year-old led off the order by hitting a 450-foot bomb to start the game. He followed this with two more hits on the day, just your at-bat as a leadoff hitter. In the top of the seventh, Judge doubled down the right field line. Followed by superb baserunning to get to third on an infield grounder in front of him. Oswaldo Cabrera was able to bring him with a high sac fly. Aaron Judge 2, Tampa Bay 1.
Not Everything Is Bad
The pitching has been pretty good recently. But it has been overshadowed by the offense’s utter refusal to produce runs. Since the All-Star break, the Yankees have been in the bottom third of the league in run production. It was no secret that the Yankees’ first half was the best offense in baseball in the first half. Then, suddenly, a collapse of epic proportions. That happens when teams and players enter the season’s dog days. The 2022 Yankees have 13 games with 3 hits or fewer.
The only other Yankees teams with more were 1914 (15) and the 1913 (16) Yankees. It’s crazy that the team leading MLB in home runs doesn’t have enough offense, but that seems to be the case. The once dependable DJ LeMahieu has regressed considerably since injuring his toe. Anthony Rizzo has been hot and cold most of the year and continues to deal with back issues. Giancarlo Stanton has been nothing short of a whiff machine since returning from the IL. And the rest of the lineup, mediocre at best, is putting it lightly. Except for Jose Trevino, he continues to play well.
Last Month of the Season
As the Yankees enter the season’s last month, it can’t get much worse. Since the All-Star break, they’ve been the worst team in the American League. The Yankees are 9-19 since August 2, the worst record. However, help could be coming soon, so that’s a positive. New York should be getting Luis Severino and Nestor Cortes back soon to add to the rotation. The bullpen is coming together with the resurgence of Jonathan Loaisiga and the return of Clay Holmes.
There is still a path for this team to make a run in the postseason. The Yankees may not be as good as their first-half record, but they are not as bad as they have been since the All-Star break. But it’s up to them to get it together. It’s up to the front office to not change the lineup every day and let their players get into a rhythm. The heat is cranking up in the kitchen, up to the boys in pinstripes to fight fire with fire.
Aaron Judge, Oswald Peraza, Roger Maris, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Trevino, Luis Severino, Nestor Cortes, Jonathan Loaisiga, Clay Holmes