The Yankees have won 11 straight in the Bronx, tying the second-longest home streak at the House The Boss Built while outscoring the opposition, 75-18, during that stretch.
They bashed 28 home runs.
The Orioles, Angels, Tigers and Cubs combined for a whopping total of four.
On Saturday night, Cubs rookie Matt Swarmer teed up six homers, a feat that hadn’t been done by a North Sider since 1884. The next afternoon, Keegan Thompson allowed five runs and recorded only two outs before he was pulled.
"The home-field advantage here matters,” Jameson Taillon said after Sunday’s 18-4 rout. “Yankee Stadium can kind of be overwhelming for some guys. On the flip side, it can make people play up — get fired up. But if you struggle in Yankee Stadium, I feel like the stage is pretty big and pretty bright. Our guys are used to it.”
That feckless foursome obviously melted under the spotlight. But starting Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, the bowling pins are gone, the JV teams have escaped from New York. They're replaced by the AL East nemesis Rays, who not only love beating their big-money Bronx pals, but they’ve become very good at it in recent years.
And that’s only the beginning. The degree of difficulty for the Yankees is being ratcheted up significantly over the next 13 games, when they’ll face the Rays six times, the Astros four and the Blue Jays three.
“That’s what you want,” said Matt Carpenter, who joined the Yankees during a four-game split at the Trop last month and has blasted six homers in 24 at-bats since then. “You want to see the best match up against the best and you want to see how this is going to play out. I’m obviously confident in this group and what we’re capable of. And it will be good for the rest of baseball to get to see us play teams that are contending for a postseason run.”
The Yankees are on a legendary run. At 44-16, they’re just the fifth team since 1956 to win at least 44 of their first 60 games, and first since the 2001 Mariners, who finished with the single-season record for victories at 114. The ’98 Yankees opened 46-14; the ’86 Mets also were 44-16.
Statistically speaking, the ’22 Yankees are a wrecking ball, leading the majors in home runs (98), slugging percentage (.441), OPS (.769), staff ERA (2.85) and WHIP (1.06) just to name a few categories. They’re top five in nearly everything else.
The question now becomes how that dominance will translate against a pair of division rivals gunning for them along with the West-leading Astros, who occupy their own special category based on the bitter playoff history and trash-can shenanigans. For comparison’s sake, let’s go back to the 11-game Bronx stroll for a minute.
The Orioles, Angels, Tigers and Cubs are a combined 37 games under .500 with a winning percentage of .423 and a minus-144 run differential. The Yankees as a team batted .286 during the home streak; those four came up with a measly .173.
These next Big Three? Aside from being comfortably inside the playoff cut, they’re 35 games over .500, with a .598 winning percentage and a plus-99 run differential. The Astros sit atop the West with an 8 1/2-game cushion over the Rangers, identical to the Yankees’ lead over the Blue Jays, who have a half-game edge on the Rays.
But a few of the Yankees suggested over the weekend that separating themselves goes beyond the numbers. It’s not always about the analytical breakdowns or strength of schedule, and some stats provide evidence for that, like their 16 comeback wins — tied for the most in the majors with the Giants and Rockies — and losing only two series (14-2-2) this season.
“We’ve got a lot of guys in here that — we really haven’t accomplished anything,” said Aaron Judge, the ruanway favorite for the AL MVP. “There’s a couple of guys with World Series rings. But this team collectively, we haven’t done much. We’re not satisfied with just winning the division. We want to go out there and bring a championship back. I think with that in our mindset, each and every day, that’s what’s kind of pushing us all year.”
History is on Judge’s side. Of the seven teams since 1940 to get off to the same sizzling start though 60 games as these Yankees, six of them won the World Series — the ’01 Mariners being the lone exception.
The Yankees will get a chance to play for No. 28 once October arrives. You can pencil them into the tournament right now. But there’s still more than 100 games left in the regular season, and these next 13 should provide a snapshot of what the Yankees can look forward to. Or confirm what they already believe.
“This is a really special group of people in this room,” Carpenter said. “It’s just a lot of fun to come to work when you have that many guys all pulling for each other. You add the talent that we have in this clubhouse and what you see is a recipe for success.”
That recipe is going to be tested over the next two weeks.
The Yankees have won 11 straight games in the Bronx, tied for the second-longest streak in this version of the Stadium (dating to 2009) and one short of the record. Here’s the breakdown of the series wins over the Orioles, Angels, Tigers and Cubs:
Runs 75 18
Shutouts 4 0
Bat. Avg. .286 .173
Extra-base hits 48 19
Home runs 28 4