While towering home runs might be the images most associated with the 2019 Yankees, they also have been mastering the art of the comeback. Their 8-3 victory over the Rays on Tuesday marked their 28th come-from-behind win, tied for the big-league lead with the Astros and Dodgers.
“It’s a resilient group,” Aaron Boone said before Wednesday night’s game was postponed. “I’ve raved all year about the makeup of the team and their singular focus about winning a game.”
While MLB teams typically win only about a third of the time when their opponent scores first, the Yankees are 18-16 in such situations this season.
Along with the attitude Boone spoke of, more tangible factors have played a part.
“When you have a good offense like we do, a collection of really good hitters, you put yourself in a position to have some of these comeback wins,” Boone said. “Couple that with a good bullpen and pitching staff.”
The Yankees' offense and bullpen have been among the game’s best this year, regardless of the situation, as the team came into Wednesday third in the majors in runs per game (5.6) and sixth in bullpen ERA (3.93). Both units have been even better when the scoreboard has called for it, fueling the strong performances in comeback situations.
Contrary to the perception that the team has merely bludgeoned teams with the long ball, the Yankees also have thrived with situational hitting. Only Colorado came into Wednesday with a better batting average with runners in scoring position, and the Yankees’ batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage all increase in late and close situations (spots in the seventh inning or later when the margin is a run or the potential tying run is on deck).
The pitching staff also has done its part, posting the fifth-lowest ERA in MLB when the Yankees are trailing. In late and close situations, opponents are hitting only .223.
Said Boone: “When we do give up an early lead, typically we’ve been able to hold teams down and keep it within reason, and give our offense a chance to eventually do its thing.”