The offense is showing some signs of improvement for the New York Yankees, and the home runs are starting to come.
The Yankees look to continue inching closer toward .500 and go for the four-game sweep Sunday afternoon when they visit the Cleveland Indians.
The Yankees are 4-1 in their past five games after a five-game skid. The first win was a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves when New York scored twice in the eighth on a walk and a wild pitch on Tuesday.
After falling to 6-11 for the first time since 1991 with Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to Atlanta, the Yankees carried a .205 average to go along with 17 homers. In winning three close games, New York has hit seven homers out of their 22 hits while scoring 13 runs.
“We’re definitely starting to play better and play well,” New York manager Aaron Boone. “With that even with this group I think they’re building on their confidence and starting to expect to walk in here and expect things to happen. So, it’s been definitely encouraging here.”
The Yankees hit four homers in Friday’s 5-3 win and followed it up by getting solo homers in the fifth inning from Aaron Hicks and Rougned Odor to back a strong performance from ace Gerrit Cole in a 2-1 win Saturday.
“It kind of changes the whole energy in the dugout when someone starts rolling and guys start hitting home runs. It’s kind of contagious,” said Hicks, who has homered in the past two games. “Hitting is contagious when guys start getting hits and coming up clutch and hitting home runs. It kind of starts to build that confidence within a lineup. That’s what we needed, and it just happened to start here.”
The Yankees are looking to complete their first-four game sweep in Cleveland since June 21-23, 1996 and will likely have Chad Green and Aroldis Chapman available if needed after Justin Wilson and Jonathan Loaisiga combined on the final six outs Saturday.
Cleveland is on a four-game losing streak after mustering three hits and striking out 11 times Saturday while wasting a strong start from ace Shane Bieber. The Indians are also 3-8 in their past 11 games, a stretch where they have been held to three runs or fewer seven times.
Eddie Rosario drove in Cleveland’s only run Saturday with an RBI single off Cole in the fourth for the Indians, who are hitting .202. Jose Ramirez and Roberto Perez had the other hits for Cleveland, which went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and is 6-for-23 with runners in scoring position in this series.
“It’s definitely going to happen,” Rosario said through an interpreter of the offense. “We’re struggling at the time, but I really believe in this group of guys.”
After Cole turned in another impressive outing, Jameson Taillon (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will make his first start on four days’ rest since returning from a second “Tommy John” surgery. He last pitched Tuesday against Atlanta and allowed one run on four hits in a five-inning no-decision.
Taillon’s only previous start against the Indians was July 25, 2018 in Cleveland when he allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings in a 4-0 loss for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Triston McKenzie (0-0, 3.55) will make his ninth career start and third this season. He last pitched on April 17 when he allowed one run, five hits, four walks and struck out seven while throwing 87 pitches in a five-inning no-decision against the Cincinnati Reds. This will be his first meeting with the Yankees.
–Field Level Media