Yankees look to build momentum on West Coast trip

Three wins can’t completely erase a tough month-long slide, but maybe they can send the Yankees out of it.

For the first time in a long time, the Yankees felt good about themselves Tuesday night after finishing a two-game sweep against the Mets. The series victory follows a win Sunday against the Blue Jays and gave the Yankees a three-game winning streak for the first time since July 28-30.

The Yankees’ mojo had largely disappeared during a 9-20 streak coming out of the all-star break (at that time they were still playing at a 113-win pace), especially during the 2- 9 more recent in which their offense became icy. But they looked like a team starting to rediscover it in their last three games.

Giancarlo Stanton is expected to return to the Yankees lineup against the A’s.
New York Post/Charles Wenzelberg

Now they’ll have a chance to solidify that feeling of victory — and bring Giancarlo Stanton back from the injured list to help them — when they open a four-game series against the Athletic’s last-place finisher Thursday in Oakland, Utah. California, before visiting the struggling Angels next week.

“I think it’s hard to have a little bluster when you keep losing games and losing series and not playing your style of baseball,” Aaron Judge said late Tuesday night before the Yankees do not fly west. “But I think the swagger has always been there. I think it just took a little reminder of who we are and the type of baseball we play and getting back to basics. We got it back.

Of course, it helps that the judge is back to MVP form. After riding through a small rut when the rest of the roster was also struggling, Judge smashed a home run in each of the two wins over the Mets.

“The dude is pretty much the best hitter right now,” Frankie Montas said after getting his best start as a Yankee on Tuesday night.

In addition to Judge’s resurgence and signs that Montas is settling in, the Yankees have recently shown other reasons to believe they might just get out of their funk.

They had two mostly clean games against the Mets, with their defense once again strong, especially on a pair of double plays between Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Gleyber Torres on Tuesday night. There was an abandoned pop-up between Oswaldo Cabrera and Marwin Gonzalez in right field on Monday and Torres (unsuccessfully) taking Jeff McNeil to second base while allowing Pete Alonso to score from third on Tuesday, but manager Aaron Boone has attributed both to the amp- the noise of the crowd.

Timing shots from Andrew Benintendi also played a key role in all three wins. After a pinstripe cold start, he’s batting .310 with nine extra hits and an .892 OPS in his last 16 games.

“It’s been a great moment,” Judge said. “I said to him, ‘Hey, keep guiding us. Keep being a guy who can ride in the big spots. ”

Then there’s Cabrera, whose arrival also gave the Yankees a boost. The versatile rookie has seemingly made his presence felt in at least one way in every game.

There are still a few areas of concern, however, leading with the bullpen. While some unlikely weapons helped close out three straight 4-2 wins, the back-up corps remains unsettled, with a mix of inconsistencies and injuries cropping up recently.

And in programming, not everyone is out of their crisis yet. Josh Donaldson is still batting 6-for-44 (.136) with 17 strikeouts and a .445 OPS in his last 12 games, though his Aug. 17 grand slam against the Rays certainly helped.

But the Yankees still came out of a tough nine-game homestand in much better shape than when they started it.

“I think the most important thing is that we learned from it,” Judge said. “We learned what not to do. That if we don’t do the little things, we don’t play the little games and don’t prepare in the right way, the teams are going to come after us. I think it comes down to learning from those mistakes, learning from those streaks, and moving on to the next one.

New York Post

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