Yankees: Joe Girardi is still pushing all the right buttons


The Yankees manager began the season as a lame duck with his job on the line and an expiring contract at the end of the year. Now, one-third into the season, we have no further questions of this witness, your honor.

The Yankees lineup that took the field to whip the Blue Jays last night had, and apparently will continue to have, a slightly different look to it. Aaron Judge is now batting in the three-hole.

Some of us may wonder to ourselves, now why didn’t I think of that? No problem. Joe Girardi made the tweak, and he accomplished it in the same way he does everything, quietly and efficiently.

What the change means is that Gary Sanchez and Judge now hit back to back. And with Judge behind him, Sanchez, whose bat has been relatively quiet since his return from an injury on May 5, is almost guaranteed to see some pitches to hit.

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Judging from the small sample size, we saw last night; it’s already working as Sanchez hit two home runs to propel the Yankees to a 12-4 rout over the Toronto Blue Jays. In all, the Yankees pounded out 15 hits and saw 180 pitches thrown by Blue Jay’s pitchers in a game that was never contested.

Only Starlin Castro, who seems to be slipping a bit and might need some of that Girardi treatment given to Chase Headley, and the hapless Chris Carter went hitless during the hit parade.

The old man does it again

And to capitalize it all, CC Sabathia turned in yet another quality start pitching into the seventh inning, allowing only five hits and one run. Going off script a bit, Sabathia threw first-pitch strikes to only nine of the 23 batters he faced.

Normally, this would spell a disaster in the making. But Sabathia, utilizing his new-found touch of magic and deception ended up walking no one, despite falling behind initially. The win was Sabathia’s sixth of the season and puts him on pace to finish with 17-19 wins for the season. Who would have thought?

Consistency remains the key

For the Yankees to stay where they are at the top of the AL East, the offense needs to stay fully charged. And the average runs scored per game stat is not the way to gauge if the team is maintaining that goal.

For example, if the Yankees score only three runs a game over the next two games in Toronto, together with the twelve they scored last night, ESPN would show them leading the league with an average of six runs a game. When, in fact, the offense has sputtered for two-thirds of those games.

To move that cause along, Greg Bird and Tyler Austin can’t get back soon enough to plug the hole at first base. Fortunately, the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury should not be an immediate concern provided that Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Judge all stay healthy.

So, it’s consistency from night to night that matters. Girardi is helping his team by playing with his lineup, and there’s every reason to believe he’s struck gold with his latest tweak. Sign him up, Hal.