In a quiet off season, the Yankees have improved (in every way)

TORONTO – The Yankees lost here on Wednesday, cutting 11 games in a row. It was a close match, with most of the competition between them and the Blue Jays this season.

Late 2-1 in the ninth inning, the Yankees carried the bases with two teams, but they failed to make the score when Isaiah Keener-Valeva fired a volley to third baseman Matt Chapman, whose rebounding throw was made first by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who showed his flexibility. By doing opening exercises.

“I was so angry with myself, and then he was so excited,” said Chapman, a three-time Golden Glove winner.

The Yankees remained on the field while they challenged the play, but eventually packed the visiting club and headed home. Even with the defeat, they won the three-game set, maintained the best baseball record (18-7) and handed the Blue Jays their first loss of the season.

“Winning 11 in a row, that’s no small task,” said Josh Donaldson, Yankees third team captain. “It doesn’t matter who you play. This is a really good football club and we came here and played really well. We lost one game on the road and had the chance in the ninth inning to go forward, I love our chances. Today we couldn’t cash them, but next time I will expect us that.”

One month into the season, the Yankees showed themselves to be different from the Yankees’ teams in the recent past. Their pitching was their best in 2021, when they were aged 92-70 and fell to Boston in American League Wild GameHowever, he has been stronger this season. Their crime is more dynamic; They hit the ball less and hit the ball more hard. Their defense has made the most improvement, going from one of the worst in Major League Baseball to one of the best to date.

In every way, manager Aaron Boone said this week, the 2022 Yankees are even better. And despite some early concerns, they do so with a full slate, even in Toronto, where the entire team has been vaccinated.

“We are better, more versatile strikers,” Boone said. “We run the rules better. There is no doubt that we catch the ball better and have a chance to be a good defensive team this year. Promotion was kind of our calling card last year. However, I feel we have a better team from top to bottom. this year “.

During the winning streak, the Yankees have shown that they can win in many ways: by scoring a lot of kicks, by winning close contests with good throws, by drawing on more parts of the roster. Sure, most opponents lately have had losing records and weren’t expected to compete in the post-season – the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Guardians and Kansas City Royals – but that’s why the rivalry against the Blue Jays always tells us that.

On Monday, the Yankees defeated the Blue Jays in their own game. During Wednesday, Toronto was 10-3 in the one-run games, playing and winning more than anyone in baseball and showing that throwing and fielding were capable. yankees won, 3-2, due to a strong start from Jordan Montgomery (two spans over five innings) and a valiant effort from Bullpin. All of their tours were led by second baseman Jaliber Torres, who endured the worst season of his career in 2021.

Torres said of last year’s swing that produced a 0.259 average, nine home runs and 0.697 on base plus a lag percentage, all career deterioration for an entire season. “I’m just now in more control.”

at 9-1 . win On Tuesday, Yankees quarterback Jameson Tellon, who was removed from ankle surgery last October, was brave again, allowing him to run once over six innings. The Yankees’ offensive was backed by defensive back Aaron Judge, who broke his ninth home career this year. After placing a big bet on himself He refused to extend a seven-year contract worth $213.5 million Prior to the start of the regular season, Judge would hit .293 with the 1.009 OPS captain in 24 games.

“It’s only 11 games, but we have a bit more work to do,” Judge said of the team’s winning streak, noting later that he was happy to be free from bothersome injuries so far this season. “A lot of good things happened. We showed what this team is made of, but we showed that we can win games with our throw and our attack. We can win with the little ball or the big fly. We just have to keep our consistency.”

Although the Yankees’ offensive was halted on Wednesday against Blue Jays player Yossi Kikuchi, the team almost made a comeback against Jordan Romano, who leads the major leagues with 12 saves. Against a strong Blue Jays squad that could welcome the return of injured player Tuscar Hernandez this weekend, Yankees start Nestor Curtis Jr. He fought a shaky command, walking four times and coughing until you ran two on fours.

However, the Yankees’ rotation ranked fourth in baseball (with a running average of 2.85) as of Wednesday. When including the Bullpen, only the Los Angeles Dodgers (2.21) staffed the Los Angeles Dodgers (2.21) in the MLB delayed another five months into the regular season, but that’s already an improvement for the Yankees, who finished sixth in the ERA (3.74) finally this season.

However, the most obvious improvements were in attack and defense. By putting up flailing players who were the worst defenders, such as first base officer Luke Voight and catcher Gary Sanchez, the Yankees replaced catch Jose Trevino and Keener Valiva and re-sign with Anthony Rizzo. Kiner-Falefa, who had a team-high 0.295, and Rizzo, who has nine home runs, were less often.

Combined with Kyle Higashioka, the striking duo of the Yankees are skilled at calling games and framing stadiums. Keener Valiva, a third starting man at the Gold Glove in 2020, has allowed Torres, who struggled last season, to return to second base. Rizzo, a four-time Gold Glove winner, saves his attackers with shovels and footwork at first base. Donaldson is confident, and versatile player DJ Limaheu is in better health than he was last season.

By some advanced metrics, the Yankees’ defense among the worst in baseball has jumped into the top 10 this season. Fall effects will be felt throughout the year: better field play means fewer extra pitches, fewer runs, and more wins. The unearned run of 73 Yankees allowed last year was the eighth in baseball. They’re on track to cut that number in half this season.

Entering this season, the Yankees were expected to compete for the playoffs despite a similar set of personalities, a few big-name acquisitions and questions about whether they had done enough to improve in the off-season. The results are promising.

“My opinion has never changed since day one of spring training,” Judge said. “I know what this team has and what they can do. To be honest, I don’t really read what the experts are saying about how this team is doing. We will just go out there and get to work, and the results will come out.”