NEW YORK (WFAN) — The Yankees are finally rolling.
The Bronx Bombers enter Wednesday’s game against Toronto on a six-game winning streak, and after a dreadful start to the season have climbed to .500.
“Baseball’s a funny game,” manager Joe Girardi told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Wednesday. “We went through our struggles for about 2 1/2 weeks, three weeks where we couldn’t seem to do anything right, and all of a sudden we put it together the last couple of weeks, and we’ve played much better baseball, and we’re .500.”
The back end up of the Yankees’ bullpen — Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman — and the hot bats of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran have been instrumental in the Yankees’ turnaround.
Girardi said he knows his relievers are a weapon.
“It allows you to shorten games even more than you were able to before, and really that’s how it changes,” he said. “If you get six innings out of your starter and his pitch count is somewhat up there, it’s really easy to make a change because we have so much confidence in these three guys. And the one thing that you worry about is you want starters to get deep into games and get deeper than six and not to rely on them (the relievers), but they also know that, ‘Hey, if I go hard for six innings and I’m out of gas, I got three guys coming after who are pretty darn good.'”
Over his last nine games, Ellsbury is batting .343 and has scored nine runs. And during the current winning streak, Beltran is hitting .440 with two homers and 10 RBIs.
“Ells has been hot, and he’s been on base,” Girardi said. “And Carlos seems to be driving in run after run. He had a couple last night. And he’s just done a tremendous job in giving us a big lift.”
Girardi said he expects Alex Rodriguez, who has been out since May 3 with a strained hamstring, to return to the lineup Thursday. The Yankees’ skipper said he’s not worried that the 39-year-old Beltran, who has largely been filling in for A-Rod as the designated hitter, might cool off once he returns to the outfield.
“Let’s not forget, he played the outfield last year, and from June on, he was really good,” Girardi said. “He swung the bat offensively really well. And he got off to a slow start last year and then seemed to get it going. And he’s got it going again. I will DH him some, and we planned on doing that before anyway because we felt like maybe Alex tired at the end of last year.”
TEX OUT AGAIN
First baseman Mark Teixeira is out of Wednesday’s lineup after experiencing neck spasms again. He missed two games earlier this month with the same issue.
When asked if he was concerned about Teixeira’s health, Girardi said: “I’m concerned that it came back. He took a few shots and had a bunch of treatment and seemed to be feeling pretty good. And then there was no mention of it last night. So it must have been something that he just woke up this morning and felt it. And it concerns me that it came back. Hopefully it’s just spams again, and we’ll get through it quickly.”
To listen to the full interview with Girardi, click on the audio player above.