Little-known, light-hitting Rays infielder Taylor Walls, in a moment of brave silliness about a week ago, hinted that the Yankees were “very hittable.” It just proves that Walls has no future in scouting once his ballplaying days are over.
The Yankees are very beatable in the sense that Secretariat was very beatable.
Or Michael Phelps.
Or Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.
The Yankees bludgeon people daily. Some nights, like Friday, it doesn’t even seem fair.
The Dodgers should be baseball’s best team, and right now they’re no better than a straight runner-up. The Yankees’ 13-0 win over the Tigers on a chilly Bronx night was their most dominant performance of the season so far.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was perfect in the seventh inning with two batters before Jonathan Schoop hit a clean single in midfield to stop the story. It was the second night in a row that the Yankees starter threatened the history books after Jameson Taillon carried a perfect game into eighth the night before.
The Yankees are a threat to do something special, and they almost did it two nights in a row.
They even had room for a little nostalgia this time, and comeback kid Manny Banuelos made his Yankees debut a decade after he was set to become the club’s next ace. Banuelos threw two shutout innings after Cole’s seven.
“We banged, we played good D and Manny came in. It was a good night”, Cole explained.
Aaron Judge posted a night of four hits, including his 20th homer, as “MVP” chants rang out on Judge’s bobblehead night. But after that, as the team sealed their fourth straight win and eighth win in 10 games, the talk turned as much to Banuelos as to the team’s two biggest stars.
“I’m so happy man. I’ve made my dream come true,” Banuelos said, bringing tears to the eyes of even die-hard reporters. “This is amazing… everyone knows this is a great team. To be a part of that is huge.”
This team looks so good their biggest hurdle is the record book as the league seems to be little challenging lately.
The Angels brought what are reputedly the best two players in the sport here earlier this week and left the Bronx bruised, battered and battered. So what did anyone expect from the Tigers, the stylish preseason pick that turned out to be toothless?
Surprise star Jose Trevino, along with sudden hero Matt Carpenter and Anthony Rizzo, joined Judge in the homer brigade. Carpenter has four homers in his first five games as a Yankee, from the scrap heap (he is the third to do so in pinstripes, alongside Dave Kingman and Eric Hinske).
The Yankees have turned out very differently than we all imagined and very differently than Walls suggested.
Very beatable? Hardly.
Sure, they’re beatable, as every team loses games here and there. Even the 1998 Yankees, the modern hallmark of baseball perfection, lost 48 games. Technically, the team that won 114 games was also beatable.
“I think everyone here knows how good we are,” said Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
They know where they stand and that’s at the top of the heap right now. Their record of 37-15 is the best in the game.
It also puts them on pace for 114 wins, just like the 1998 squad.
For those who saw them, they have to struggle to reach the playoffs last year and mainly watch their competitors spend after that, it’s still a little hard to believe.
They shored up the shortstop, added a talented but aging third-place irritant, traded middle assists with the Mets and mostly hoped for the best.
Rivals unknown critics aside, we can now say it’s no coincidence.
The pen is good, the rotation is better, and Judge needs to empty his trophy cabinet for the upcoming MVP.
Cole ended the night by allowing two hits and no walks while striking out nine. He hit his side twice. The perfectionist was near perfect.
Cole has caught the heat and criticism as only the extraordinary is expected after signing a nine-year, $324 million deal. But in all fairness, he’s a true ace.
And two others pitch the same way. Cole himself endorsed Nestor Cortes, who comes from Baltimore, Seattle and all angles to fool club after club, for his own hardware as Cy Young’s leader.
And it feels like Taillon, the third ace, has finally arrived as a star. After being selected second overall, between Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, in the star-studded 2010 MLB Draft, Taillon endured two Tommy John surgeries and an even more serious operation for testicular cancer. Like Cortes, he’s also a bit of a late bloomer.
Greatness seems to come for guys when they get out of Pittsburgh. The new closer Clay Holmes, who started in Pittsburgh like Cole and Taillon, was almost perfect.
Which means he has something else in common with Cole.
Lately the whole team seemed almost perfect.