picture from Marcus Stroman Twitter

The Yankees Have Changed Their Culture

What a magical start to the season for the New York Yankees. Sweeping the rival Houston Astros in Houston, and then taking two of three from the defending National League Champion Diamondbacks in Arizona. You couldn’t have asked for a better road trip.

How many Yankees fans would have expected a four game sweep in Houston to start the year? If you polled real, honest fans, I think most of them would have said a split would be considered a rousing success.

Juan Soto is a difference maker. He had a game-saving throw to nail Mauricio Dubon at the plate to preserve the Yankees lead in game one, then had the game-winning RBI in the ninth inning of game four. 

That ninth inning of game four against Houston, when the Yankees won 4-3, really sticks out to me. With arguably the best reliever in baseball on the mound in Josh HaderGleyber Torres had a two out single; then he stole second base. With a 3-2 count to Soto and two outs, Torres took off for third, and Soto was able to line one into left field for an RBI single.

Single, stolen base, single, all with two outs. Manufacturing runs late in the game, against a great reliever, is not something the Yankees have done frequently over the past several years. Anyone who has payed attention to them knows that it’s been home run or bust. That’s been their mentality: launch angles and exit velocity, results be damned.

You could see it in the first game against the Diamondbacks as well. Men on the corners, Austin Wells hits a fly ball to right field, Alex Verdugo tags and forces a throw from Lourdes Gurriel Jr thats sails up the first base line; Anthony Volpe advances to third and forces another wild throw, this time from Ryne Nelson, and Volpe scores. Two runs on one sac fly because of great base running and forcing the other team into mistakes.

Stealing bases, timely singles, good base running, working the count, it is such a fun, electric style of baseball to watch. It’s also a clear indication that the Yankees have really, finally, completely changed their ways. Put the ball in play and good things can happen, that’s baseball Suzyn.

It’s not just the lineup that has seen much improvement, but it’s the bench, the locker room, the culture and aura surrounding the New York Yankees. That picture from Marcus Stroman’s twitter (pinned above) is from an away game. Alex Verdugo unknowingly created the teams identity for the rest of the season by labeling everyone as “dawgs.” Stro has the guys flexing their watches on IG. Juan Soto ignites the dugout every time he gets on base.

New York needed a spark, and they ended up with three lightning rods. It’s a total identity change.

The Yankees sputtered in that second game against Arizona, when they went up against the unbelievable Zac Gallen, but other than that, they’ve been playing great baseball. Their lineup is producing runs in multiple ways, the starting pitching has been solid (outside of Nestor Cortes’ two rough starts), and their bullpen has been lights out.

There is a lot to feel good about if you’re a fan of this team. If they keep this up, they’re going to win a lot of baseball games; and when Gerrit Cole comes back, watch out.

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