What the Yankees did in their three-game sweep of the White Sox was serve a loud and clear warning that they can be a Dream Team.
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What the Yankees did in their three-game sweep of the White Sox was serve a loud and clear warning that they can be a Dream Team between now and their October crusade for that elusive 28th world championship.
Aroldis Chapman stood sneering at the White Sox from 60 feet, 6 inches away, two outs away from saving a 4-3 win.
Aroldis Chapman, who had not surrendered an earned run or blown a save in 2021.
Aroldis Chapman, pumping triple-digit heat on a hot spring afternoon.
Ninth inning. His inning.
Until Andrew Vaughn blasted a 432-foot solo home run 110 mph into the right-center-field seats.
And it wouldn’t matter.
Because the Yankees (28-19) would pick him up in the bottom of the ninth inning the way he had picked them up all season in his ninth inning.
And it figured that at the end of a week that saw Gleyber Torres rebounding with a vengeance (3-for-4, two RBIs on Sunday and 12-for-19, 10 RBIs off the COVID list), a Corey Kluber no-hitter and a triple play, it was a walk-off walk from Aaron Judge against Liam Hendriks that gave the Yankees their 5-4 victory and six-game winning streak.
“Look, we have enormous expectations in that room,” Aaron Boone said. “And also, have the confidence that we’re able to play at that level.”
Messages sent in May are long forgotten by the long, hot summer. But staring down a formidable White Sox team the way the Yankees did, with scary starting pitching and defense — a pair of double plays and a sliding catch in short right by DJ LeMahieu — is nothing to sneeze at.
“I don’t know if it’s sending anything, this is what we expect,” Boone said. “We expect to be a great team.”
And here’s the thing — while no one can possibly expect the starters to continue this kind of historic run, Jameson Taillon’s five scoreless innings made it 35 consecutive scoreless innings for the starters — it ought to give pause to the AL East at the very least that Giancarlo Stanton has been on the IL and Luke Voit and Gary Sanchez are hitting less than their weight and Clint Frazier finally showed signs of awakening leading off the ninth with his third hit before stealing second. And oh by the way, Luis Severino and Zack Britton will soon be joining the party.
“When we’re out there having fun, we’re confident, we’re a dangerous team,” Judge said.
They have won 23 of their last 32 games and yet are only 20th in slugging percentage and have hit a ho-hum 58 HRs.
“I still think the slug’s gonna be there, and we’re gonna have a stretch where we really slug,” said Boone, “but it can also manifest itself in tough at-bats, quality at-bats when you need ‘em.”
They are the Bronx Grinders more than they are the Bronx Bombers for now, passing the baton from one batter to the next, and after two innings, they had extended Dallas Keuchel to 52 pitches. When it really mattered, left-handed Tyler Wade legged out a slow roller against lefty Aaron Bummer to set up Judge against Hendriks, who hasn’t forgotten yielding a huge AL wild-card HR to him in 2018 when Hendriks was with the A’s.
“The guys weren’t gonna be denied and had a lot of winning at-bats,” Boone said.
The Yankees had been waiting for Taillon to pitch in, to carry the torch for a rotation that had been so dominant it could call have called itself the Blankees, and he did it mostly with his fastball, finally mustering up some killer instinct — the White Sox were 1-for-10 in two-strike situations against him.
“All of ’em have been on the attack, and really pounding the strike zone with their stuff, executing their full arsenal time and time again,” Boone said.
Remember, this was once a 5-10 team, off to its worst start since 1997.
“Earlier in the season, a lot of people were panicking, but we weren’t,” Frazier said.
If these Yankees are on their way to becoming a Dream Team, it will be everyone else’s nightmare.
This story originally appeared on: NyPost - Author:Steve Serby