Aaron Judge returns? Anyone Louis Gill? Good Vibes Abound: 3 Yankees Takeaways

street. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Their voices were so loud you could hear them through the concrete walls.

A wild, beer-soaked celebration was how the New York Yankees capped off a 10-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

The players screamed and even barked as Jahmi Jones, one of the day’s many stars, spoke before them, receiving the game’s MVP championship belt. All kinds of pop music blared from the speakers off one of the walls of the club. The room still smelled like light beer when he let the reporters in.

“Team stuff,” catcher Jose Trevino said. “Dog stuff.”

It was a good day to be part of the evil empire.

In fact, it was such a good season, that their 27-15 record left them a half-game behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. The Yankees are 8-3 in May. After Monday, they head to Minnesota, where they have owned the Twins for years. Since 2018, they have gone 73-32 against the Twins, their best winning percentage against any club in the American League.

Here are three takeaways as the Yankees continue to surge.

The biggest development for the Yankees was Judge getting back to normal. This means he is back to becoming one of the best hitters in the game.

Sunday’s win showed everything that is right with Judge. All four balls he played had speeds of 104.6 mph or faster. His two-run fifth home run gave the Yankees a 6-0 lead, and it was his tenth of the year (fourth in the AL). He worked a seven-pitch walk in the third inning despite trailing 0-2.

Judge also extended his stat streak to 10 games. During that span, he hit .364 (12-for-33). Judge was hitless with two walks and a hit by pitch in the first two games of the Series, though Boone said those results were misleading “given how he swung the bat.”

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“He walks,” Boone said. “He’s getting to base.”

Things were looking up for the judge. Observing him all season, he showed no obvious physical discomfort, despite an ongoing issue with the right toe injury he suffered last year and the abdominal discomfort he felt during spring training. And now he’s just getting results. The basic stats were also on Judge’s side. take samples:

• As of Sunday night, he had a weighted on-base percentage of .399, in the 94th percentile for MLB.

• His 76.5 mph velocity was in the 97th percentile.

• His hard-hit rate, which accounts for balls hit at more than 95 mph, was 57.4 percent — within the 97th percentile.

Judge hit his lowest point when he was batting just .197 with six homers over his first 33 games.

now? appears again.

“It was inevitable,” Boone said.

Luis Gil in attack

No one expected Gerrit Cole’s replacement to have the lowest ERA among Yankees starters at this point in the season.

And yet, here is Luis Gil carrying a 2.51 ERA through eight starts thanks to six scoreless innings on Sunday.

Chew on this:

• Gill is the first Yankees player to throw more than six innings and allow one or fewer runs in at least three consecutive starts since Cole did so in June 2022.

• He has also allowed three or fewer hits in seven of his eight starts this season.

• Gill was quick to change the heavy ball while mixing up the slider. Opponents have just a .233 slugging percentage against his heater, who he throws 58.3 percent of the time and averages 96.4 mph. His changeup was even better with a .167 slugging percentage against.

“He’s on offense all the time,” Trevino said. “He doesn’t give up on anyone. It doesn’t matter who you are. He tries to attack you with everything he has. I think he does a very good job of that.”

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“Hitters tell you a lot,” Boone said. “They’re so overwhelmed with just his stuff and they can’t do it — even when they get a good swing, they usually can’t cut it, and that’s a clue whether it’s deception or speed or spin, whatever it is. Hitters tell you That this thing affects you.

Let’s get ahead of ourselves for a moment. At some point, the Yankees will likely have to pull the plug on Gill as a starter, no matter how much it hurts. His highest in total innings pitched came in 2021 when he struck out 79 1/3 in the minors and 29 1/3 for the Yankees. He pitched just four innings last year due to Tommy John surgery.

The Yankees insist he’s not wearing the traditional innings hat. That’s because they use technology to track his energy levels. This includes everything from his average velocity to his arm path. So, maybe Jill can surprise and last a lot longer than anyone expects. Most likely, the Yankees could look to move him toward a relief role when Cole returns sometime this summer.

“Of course, I want to be here,” Gil said through a translator. “I want to be part of this team. But at the same time, I’m very focused on what I have to do.”

Lots of good vibes

Winning cures everything, and the Yankees are proof of that. So far they have managed to leave behind the terrible memories of their fourth-place finish in 2023. The club was full of good vibes.

A couple of interesting scenes:

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• Gleyber Torres, who had been mostly terrible with a 58 OPS+ entering Sunday, crushed a clutch three-run home run in the eighth inning to extend the Yankees’ lead to 9-5 on Sunday. When he crossed the plate, Anthony Rizzo wrapped him in a hug and held him there for a moment. The players came out of the dugout to congratulate him. This wasn’t how Torres thought his contract year would go, but he felt the love on Sunday.

“That’s why I always say this is home, it’s more than just teammates, it’s family,” he said. “The relationships I have here are great, and everyone is here with me now.”

• Jones made just six appearances this season before crushing a solo homer in the third inning — the first blast of his career. He made his MLB debut in 2020. Boone and the players knew Jones had been through a lot, barely getting a chance to play despite showing up every day. They showered him with beer in the postgame celebration, which was also sweet because his moment came on Mother’s Day. Jones’ father, Andrew, died suddenly of a brain aneurysm in 2011 when Jones was 13 years old. His mother, Michelle, took care of him and his five siblings.

After the home run, the Yankees went nuts, greeted by Alex Verdugo — whose spot was taken by Jones in the lineup — with a roaring hit.

“It’s something I’ll never forget,” Jones said.

(Photo of Aaron Judge hitting a two-run homer: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

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