Blame the pitching and check the Jordan Montgomery box scores all you want, but the New York Yankees have had a substandard offense ever since Giancarlo Stanton and Matt Carpenter went down a few weeks ago. Those injuries were the catalysts to one of the worst offensive stretches in franchise history, featuring only one half-inning’s worth of leads between Aug. 13 and Aug. 19 and hundreds of forgotten baserunners stranded along the way.
But could … the Yankees … actually be limping back to lineup respectability after defeating Max Scherzer on Monday night for their second consecutive 4-2 victory?
Oooh, four runs! Four! The Bronx Bombers are back! Obviously, there’s a long way to go, but Andrew Benintendi’s recent hot stretch has been well-utilized out of the leadoff spot, and DJ LeMahieu cleaning up might be just funky enough to work until Stanton is activated and back in rhythm.
Unlike the disaster that was two-hole Benny and three-hole Judge on Saturday, this alignment could potentially have legs as the ex-Royal continues to find his footing in the Bronx.
Of course, LeMahieu was moved to the two-hole on Tuesday, so perhaps the Yankees still aren’t wedded to any form of consistency.
Things really haven’t been all that bad since Benintendi’s first week in pinstripes had him looking like a singles-hitting Joey Gallo clone. He might’ve found his comfort zone and leveled up this week, too, securing clutch knocks on Sunday and Monday during the two games that stopped the team’s recent bleeding.
Yankees lineup with Andrew Benintendi up top, DJ LeMahieu cleaning up works
So, what’s the secret sauce? In Sunday’s and Monday’s games, Benintendi has gone 4-for-6 with a walk in seven plate appearances leading off, knocking in four of the team’s eight runs. Add in LeMahieu’s production from the unfamiliar cleanup spot, and you’ve got six of the team’s total RBI accounted for. LeMahieu, of course, is known for putting bat on ball, but only occasionally with authority. That said, during Stanton’s absence and Rizzo’s mid-injury struggles, he’s shown a propensity for cleaning up messes and making sure Benintendi/Aaron Judge don’t get stranded. So far, it seems like a winning formula, albeit a comparatively thump-less one.
Stanton is set to return later this week, reportedly for the Oakland series. That will change the equation once again.
But is there a way for the Yanks to maintain what’s worked recently while re-integrating Stanton as a DH (as he still seeks to find his rhythm)?