NEW YORK (WFAN) — The Yankees enter Thursday night’s game against the Rays with a respectable 4-4 record, but for a little while it appeared the Bombers might be headed for a disastrous start to the season.
Then came the turning point.
With the Yankees sitting at 1-4 and trailing the Orioles 3-1 on Sunday, Ronald Torreyes hit a two-run triple in the sixth inning and Aaron Judge clobbered a game-tying homer in the seventh. New York went on to win 7-4.
The Yankees are now 4-4, riding a three-game winning streak.
“We had left so many runners on base up until that point,” manager Joe Girardi told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Thursday. “(Orioles pitcher Wade) Miley had given us, I don’t know, six or seven free passes, and we weren’t able to take advantage of it. And Torreyes has had a bunch of big hits. … He has played extremely well, and so has Aaron Judge.”
Judge has been on a tear this week. The Yankees right fielder has homered in three straight games and is batting .308 on the season.
Needless to say, Girardi likes what he sees.
“If he gets the barrel of the bat to the ball, good things are going to happen, just because he’s so strong and he’s so big,” the Yankees skipper said. “And that’s exactly what’s happening. And it’s not just early in the count. He’s walking. He’s putting on good, tough at-bats. So really pleased with what he’s doing.”
Brett Gardner was hurt in a violent collision at first base with Rickie Weeks on Wednesday when Weeks ran into Gardner’s path chasing a ball.
Gardner has passed concussion protocol. He is not in Thursday’s starting lineup, but is available for action.
“He’s doing much better than he expected and probably much than we expected,” Girardi said. “He’s sore a little bit. But we were afraid that his neck was going to be really sore, almost like a whiplash sort of thing.”
This certainly isn’t the same Chase Headley we saw at the start of last season.
In 2016, the Yankees third baseman batted .150 with no homers and two RBIs in April. So far this season, he’s hitting .393 with two homers and three RBIs.
“It’s good to see because we all saw how frustrated he was last year, and he went to work,” Girardi said. “And he’s gotten into his legs more, and it’s definitely helped him. He’s played as well as anyone we have up until this point. He’s hitting from both sides. He’s had big hits. So you just want to see it continue for him.”
To listen to Francesa’s interview with Girardi, click on the audio player above.