Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge is Back! What About The Yankees?

After missing multiple games, Aaron Judge returned to the lineup for the New York Yankees in Tuesday night’s game against the Oakland Athletics. To say they’ve missed him would be an understatement. The Yankees have experienced a power outage with Judge out and the team has fallen to last place in the division.

It didn’t take long for Judge to make an impact. In the third inning on Tuesday, his hard hit that was poorly fielded by the A’s resulted in a run batted in. It helped kickstart a five-run inning. Otherwise, Judge had a rather uneventful night, with no hits and a walk but the Yankees won 10-5.

Suddenly, the Yankees have their best player back and are winning. After Wednesday’s victory, they’ve won three-consecutive games and are 21-17 on the year. They remain in last place in the American League East Division but the dark clouds have cleared and all looks bright in the Bronx, right?

At Least the Yankees Lineup is Back

The Yankees scored 10 runs on Tuesday while following that up with 11 runs on Wednesday, and suddenly, the lineup looks alive. They’ve scored 28 runs in the series sweep against the Athletics and 35 runs in the past four games. For a lineup that was well below league average, this has been a pleasant surprise.

The lineup improvement goes beyond Judge. Gleyber Torres has established himself as a vital power bat in the lineup, including hitting a two-run home run in Tuesday’s win. Harrison Bader is back in center field and hit a triple that allowed him to score in the Monday victory. DJ LeMahieu is starting to find power, slugging .461 on the year and hitting a home run in the Monday win. Anthony Rizzo remains a steady part of the heart of the batting order, slashing .296/.385/.467 with 63 total bases.

All this is to say that the Yankees are heating up anyway or at least the lineup is. However, Judge’s return does add an extra spark. The Yankees lacked power for weeks and didn’t have a bat at the top of the lineup that made everyone better. Judge not only adds to the lineup but suddenly makes the rest of the batting order more formidable. Rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe suddenly needs to see strikes if Judge is behind him. Torres is hitting well but now can do so with people on base in front of him.

Judge’s return has a ripple effect and it’s coming at a time when the Yankees are clicking. The lineup looks like the one that was one of the best in baseball last year. It has power at the top and depth at the bottom. So, are the Yankees ready to get on a run and take the American League by storm? Well, not quite.

A Grain of Salt: They Beat the A’s

The A’s have been an embarrassment in every facet of an organization. To be fair, the players are trying to win, it’s everything else that has made them look like a disgrace to baseball. The ownership has given up and is trying (but failing) to move the team to Las Vegas.

There’s no support from the fans because nobody wants to watch one of the worst teams in baseball history in a stadium that is not only run down but now rat-infested. The front office isn’t buying into the team because they can’t and if (somehow) a player on the team is good enough to help them win, he is traded because heaven forbid the A’s start selling out the ballpark in Oakland (the ownership group doesn’t want there to be any doubt about trying to get the team to Vegas).

This rant was weeks in the making. Oakland and their fans deserve better but never got it. this goes back to the days they moved out west. The city always longed for a winning team but had always been given a depleted one.

Anyway, back to the Yankees. They beat the A’s. Three times. By the scores of 7-2, 10-5, 11-3. While impressive, it’s hard to make any judgments or imply anything from beating a team that is actively trying to lose. The A’s have eight wins this season, it’s the middle of May. The Yankees are playing well but it’s a small sample size against an awful team so it’s not something to get overly excited about.

The Bright Side, The Yankees Are in Striking Distance

The Tampa Bay Rays are on a tear, with a 29-9 record which is far and beyond the best record in American League. Other than the Rays, who are the great teams in the American League? The Baltimore Orioles have the second-best record but don’t look overly impressive at 24-13. Otherwise, there aren’t many teams off to great or even good starts. The Yankees are above .500 barely but they can get on a run and suddenly be in the mix in the American League.

And guess what, the upcoming schedule is going to test them. The Yankees wrapped up their series against the A’s and now play the Rays and the Toronto Blue Jays in their next eight games. That stretch is daunting but a Yankees hot streak puts them back in the divisional race.

Main Image: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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