The Yankees have played their way back into contention for the American League East with three series wins against the Blue Jays, Athletics and Royals.
New York will be within striking distance of the Red Sox as a three-game series approaches this weekend at Fenway Park.
Just over a week ago the Yankees stood at one game over .500 and there was a legitimate question as to whether this team should be sellers at the deadline. That is no longer a discussion at this point barring a complete collapse over the next month or so. What has caused this recent stretch of good play has been a bunch of comeback wins led by a lineup that all of a sudden looks a lot more dangerous. Some resurgence from key players lengthens the middle of that lineup.
The two through five spots in the lineup will for the most part consist of Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Luke Voit. Judge and Stanton are established quality hitters that we already know are good. Sánchez has had up and down years but is more than living up to his potential right now. Voit returning is important as well, as he is one of the most dangerous hitters in the lineup when healthy.
In an interesting twist Sánchez’s resurgence has forced Aaron Boone to put him in the three spot, sandwiched between Judge and Stanton. That lineup construction was something Yankees fans were dreaming of all offseason leading up to the 2018 season. It took a while, but it is better late than never because those three hitters in a row hitting to their capabilities is a scary sight for pitchers
Gary Sanchez game-tying home run in the bottom of the 9th inning! pic.twitter.com/Hmr5oedd4T
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) June 24, 2021
This is without even mentioning that DJ LeMahieu is starting to look closer to what he was in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. His performance at the top of the lineup is huge to set the table for that dangerous stretch of hitters in the two through five holes.
DJ Delivers ✅ pic.twitter.com/NoVDDcb7vc
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 19, 2021
Considering the fact that the Yankees are likely going to be buyers and they will be in the market for a center fielder. If they land someone like Ketel or Starling Marte then that lineup is even tougher to pitch to.
To wrap it all up, hitters that are expected to be contributors like Judge and Gleyber Torres have slumped for the majority of this winning stretch. That will not be the case most of the time, especially for Judge. Gio Urshela is no slouch in the batter’s box as well.
This does not wash away the flaws that exist on this Yankees team, but the lineup being as healthy as it can be and some players starting to live up to expectations can change how this season looks come September.
Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images