“The 2022 New York Yankees are the same as 2021’s team, folks. I have seen enough. They can’t hit with RISP. They didn’t make meaningful additions, and should’ve signed Trevor Story or Carlos Correa. The pitching is cute, but everybody pitches these days. Same vibes as ’21, no reason to get excited, let’s pack it in.” – You, after the Yankees started 7-6
Welp, now they’re 16-6, and have done a pretty excellent job of reminding the baseball world why, exactly, they’re different from last year’s crew, which displayed the same deficiencies time and again over the course of a 92-win season that probably should’ve approached 100 with any luck and any fortitude.
Last year’s team typically hung on for dear life, like the 2022 Yankees during their first 13 games. Every win was a three-hour grind, and every loss left you feeling like … that was it? That was the best we had? Sure, you’re going to lose every now and again, but … was the team even there?
Since rolling the dice, intentionally walking Miguel Cabrera and getting burned by a bloop, the Yankees are undefeated, ignited in a similar fashion (you’d hope) to the Boston Celtics who saw RJ Barrett’s unlikely buzzer-beater touch twine and decided, “We are never losing again.”
The Yanks have racked up nine wins in a row against the Guardians, Orioles and Kansas City Royals, the third series taking place on the road.
Impossible task? No, of course not. But stringing together victories against any group of teams is difficult. Just ask the Boston Red Sox, who proudly crowed about a “get right” series in Baltimore only to throw the game-losing bunt into left field in extras and then get pasted in the finale.
That leads directly into the ninth of nine things I’ve been considering during this impressive nine-game winning streak (which, quite frankly … 10 would be cool).
9. You Play the Competition on the Schedule
Yes, rival fans are right. The Yankees should’ve refused to play Cleveland, Baltimore, and KC. They should’ve demanded better competition!
For any fan of the 2021 Yankees, this sequence has been an absolute breath of fresh air. Too often, last year’s team would’ve looked at a stretch like this as an opportunity to take a foot off the gas pedal, and the other foot off the brake, careening sadly into a railing in the process. Mentally, last year’s Bombers checked out, seemingly opting out of playing their scheduled contests against inferior competition.
Yes, the baseline of expectations for a good team going through this “gauntlet” would be, what? 6-3? 9-0 is spotless. No matter the team in the other dugout, that’s significant.
And just because Cleveland’s in a tough spot now doesn’t mean they were last week. The Guardians headed to the Bronx fresh off a sweep of the White Sox at 7-5, and their lineup was led by Steven Kwan, who never, ever whiffed.
Nestor Cortes Jr. got him twice. Fun fact, you can turn your opponent into a “struggling team” if you beat them.