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Yankees Complete ‘Big-Time’ Sweep of Astros

For the first time since 2003, the New York Yankees are 4-0 to start the season. New York completed a thrilling four-game sweep of the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on Sunday. The Yankees rallied late and came from behind to win all four games on the road and without Gerrit Cole. Here is what we learned from the first four games of the season.

Yankees Complete Four-Game Sweep of Astros

Juan Soto is a “Dawg”

“He’s a dawg,” Alex Verdugo said about Juan Soto following Sunday’s win. Soto was dealt to New York in a blockbuster trade with the San Diego Padres and his first series as a Yankee could not have gone better. Soto slashed .529/.600/.765 with a home run, four RBI, and three walks in four games. Lesser known for his glove, Soto threw Mauricio Dubón, who represented the Astros’ tying run, out at the plate on Opening Day.

“That’s the kind of start I wanted,” Soto said after the win. “I grinded really hard this offseason and in spring training to be successful in the beginning of the season.”

Houston Shut Down Judge, But Not the Yankees

Over the last two years, if you shut down Aaron Judge, you shut down the Yankees. Judge has struggled against Houston throughout his career, and his struggles continued, going 2-for-16 (.125) with six strikeouts in the opening series. Yet the Yankees still managed to outscore the Astros by 10 runs and sweep the series 4-0. Soto was front and center in all four wins, but the Yankees lineup looked the deepest it has in years. Utilityman Oswaldo Cabrera was the unlikely hero for the Yankees, delivering clutch hits and driving in six runs. Second-year shortstop Anthony Volpe was more disciplined at the plate, batting .400/.571/.800 with four walks against Houston.

This series showed that while Judge still needs to produce, the Yankees no longer have to rely solely on Judge to generate offense. New York showed that even when Judge struggles they can still win, which in the past was very difficult.

Takeaways from the Yankees’ Sweep of the Astros

These were the first four games of a very long season, but the first series went as well as the Yankees could have hoped. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, in his own words, admitted that the Yankees (82-80) were a disaster last season. They needed help this offseason, particularly another lefty bat and another starter, which they got with Soto and Stroman. Soto made an immediate impact, as did Marcus Stroman pitching six shut-out innings in his Yankees debut against a tough Astros lineup. The Yankees placed Gerrit Cole on the 60-day injured list after suffering an elbow injury in camp and will be without their ace until late May.

There are still areas the Yankees need to improve, but not nearly as many as last year. The Yankees have a good righty-lefty balance in their lineup and now have two strong outfield arms on either side of Judge. They created traffic on the bases and drove runners in, but most importantly the Yankees battled back to win from behind all weekend.

Pitcher Clarke Schmidt said after Sunday’s win, “You don’t really play playoff games in March, but this was a big-time series and a big-time sweep.”


Photo Credit: © Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports


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