The Yankees are in command of the AL East and 4 ½ games clear of the Astros for the best record in the American League. The Yankees entered Saturday in command of the AL East and 3 ½ games clear of the Astros for the best record in the American League.
It’s a fact that Aaron Boone and his players are very much aware of, obviously, but not something that’s become priority No. 1 for the rest of this season.
At least not yet.
“I know where we’re at, I’m mindful of it,” Boone said before Saturday’s 6-5 victory over the Indians. “But we’re on the day. We have a really good Cleveland team [here] and that’s kind of what we focus on: How can we go out and get a win today. That’s the focus. Aware of everything, but we’re hyper-focused on today.”
The Yankees, whose last AL East title came in 2012, lead the second-place Rays by 10 1/2 games. Though a playoff spot is all but inevitable, securing that remains the day-to-day focus.
“Look, first things first — getting in [the postseason],” Boone said. “Of course we want to play as many games here as we can. We feel like this is a place, obviously, we play really well, where we’re really comfortable, and we feel like we have a huge advantage here. It’s important. Hopefully we put ourselves in that kind of position. [But] I feel like that’s still kind of down the road.”
Gleyber keeps goin’ deep
Gleyber Torres homered twice, giving him 29 homers in 113 games, an impressive power display after hitting 24 homers in 123 games his rookie season. He laughed when reporters pressed him about perhaps now calling himself a “home run hitter,” something Torres previously has dismissed.
“I’m a contact hitter,” he said. “I could hit 40 [homers] but I’m still a contact hitter.”
Torres, at 22 years, 247 days old, became the youngest player in MLB history to record seven multihomer games in one season. The franchise record is eight — by Babe Ruth (1927), Mickey Mantle (1961) and Alex Rodriguez (2007).
Judge full day off
Aaron Judge, who entered Friday in a 12-for-81 slump but went 2-for-3 in that night’s victory over Cleveland, was given Saturday off.
“Just kind of Aaron and I working through it,” Boone said of determining when Judge would get a day. “In this stretch of games [18 in a row], he hasn’t really had a day off. The one day he had in Toronto [Aug. 9], he had to come in because Gardy [Brett Gardner] got ejected. It’s just kind of something he and I have kind of collaborated on a little bit. Thought it was best to have him down today.”
Gardner again got ejected Saturday, but Judge did not replace him. Instead, Mike Tauchman shifted from left to center, Cameron Maybin went from right to left and Thairo Estrada, who started the day at second, shifted to right. DJ LeMahieu went from first to second and Mike Ford entered the game at first base.
Aroldis Chapman, who earned his 35th save, has recorded saves in all eight of his August appearances and has thrown eight shutout innings after posting an 8.31 ERA in nine July outings …The Yankees have hit an MLB-high 46 homers in 18 games this month. The record for most homers in a month: 58 by the Orioles in May 1987 and the Mariners in May 1999 . . . The Yankees have hit 226 homers in 125 games, which projects to 293 in a full season, 26 more than the MLB record they set last year. But the Twins have 240 homers in 123 games, which projects to 316.