Insider likens Yankees’ impressive start to 2024 to just a warm-up act

The New York Yankees are doing customary celebration after Rizzo's walk off gave then win over the Tigers at Yankee Stadium on May 4, 2024.

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The Yankees’ recent series triumph over the Tigers has propelled them to the summit, tying them for the most wins in Major League Baseball alongside the Dodgers and Phillies, with an impressive 23-13 record.

The Yankees’ offensive juggernaut has exhibited remarkable consistency, plating four or more runs in a staggering 22 out of their 36 games played. Moreover, they have surpassed the five-run threshold on a remarkable 19 occasions. In the 2024 campaign thus far, no other team in the American League has eclipsed the Yankees in amassing games where they have scored five or more runs.

However, Joel Sherman of The Post considers the Yankees’ early staggering start as merely a preview of what’s to come. For him, the historic pace is just the tip of the iceberg and the best is still yet to come.

Sherman’s kaleidoscope of the Soto-fied Yankees

The insider is in awe of the team’s star slugger Juan Soto‘s impact on the Bronx Bombers. He agrees with Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s unwavering confidence in Soto, highlighting the Yankees’ desire to have him at the plate in any situation.

Soto’s exceptional abilities, including his prowess in high-stakes moments, were fully displayed on Sunday. Nestor Cortes delivered yet another exceptional performance at Yankee Stadium, while Soto demonstrated his resilience in high-pressure situations. Despite challenging baseball conditions, the Yankees secured a 5-2 victory over the Tigers, with the game called after eight innings due to persistent inclement weather that plagued it from the outset.

The Yankees emerged victorious once again, thanks to their ability to prevent runs and Soto’s clutch performance.

Juan Soto celebrates after hitting a home run in the seventh inning of the Yankees vs. Tigers game at Yankee Stadium on May 5, 2024.

This win propelled the Yankees to their highest point of the season, 10 games above .500. Their success is owed to the efforts of Cortes and the pitching staff, who have held opponents to three runs or fewer in a Major League-leading 23 games.

Throughout the Yankees’ season, Soto’s clutch displays and the team’s proficiency in limiting runs have remained steadfast. Soto’s offensive prowess and the team’s ability to prevent runs help explain why the Yankees are tied with the Orioles for the most wins in the American League, despite Gerrit Cole not throwing a pitch this year and limited production from Aaron Judge. However, encouraging performances from Cole and Judge over the weekend suggest that the Yankees could surpass the 10-games-over-.500 mark, potentially outperforming the Orioles, and nurturing ambitious aspirations.

Additionally, Soto’s ability to bounce back from a frustrating afternoon, culminating in a decisive three-run double in a crucial left-on-left seventh-inning encounter against Andrew Chafin, has been pivotal. When facing left-handed pitchers with runners in scoring position, Soto has been exceptional this season. In 10 such instances, he has amassed five hits in seven at-bats, drawn two walks, avoided strikeouts, contributed a sacrifice fly, and driven in an impressive 10 runs.

The pitching factors into a quantum jump in performance

Nestor Cortes showcased his excellence on Sunday, a performance expected when pitching at Yankee Stadium. In his four home starts, Cortes boasts a remarkable 1.59 ERA, limiting opposing batters to a mere .162 batting average. He has issued only one walk while striking out an impressive 28 batters over 28 ¹/₃ innings. Notably, that lone walk occurred in the fourth inning against Riley Greene, as Cortes believed he had struck out Greene two pitches earlier and was halfway back to the dugout.

Gerrit Cole has made significant progress in his recovery, throwing off a mound for the first time since being sidelined during spring training due to nerve irritation in his invaluable right elbow. While still in the early stages of regaining arm strength, a mid-June return seems plausible.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole is pitching during his Cy Young season in 2023.

Despite not having ace Cole, the Yankees rotation has maintained its solid performance and recent quality play. The team’s success is anchored in their starting pitching. Consider this: if Cole were to end the season with a 2.99 ERA, it would be deemed an exceptional campaign for the ace. Astonishingly, the entire Yankees pitching staff has collectively posted a 2.99 ERA through the first 36 games, even without contributions from the reigning 2023 AL Cy Young award winner.

Moreover, the pitching staff has achieved another crucial milestone—they haven’t faltered, not even once. The Yankees and Orioles are the only teams in the league to have every starting pitcher last a minimum of four innings in each outing this season. This consistency has prevented the bullpen from being overexposed, despite the high frequency of closely contested games.

The giant is waking up

Additionally, Aaron Judge has shown flashes of his usual dominant form in the past week. He managed to outshine a Cy Young contender like Tarik Skubal, in the very first inning, launching a two-out home run. By day’s end, the Yankees slugger added a double against Skubal and drew a walk against Andrew Chafin. Though his batting average remains modest at .220, Judge has been on fire over the last nine games, going 11-for-31 (.355) with three home runs (and earning his first career ejection in the process).


The Yankees‘ offensive strategy hinged on pairing Soto with Judge to create one of the most potent left-right combinations in baseball. However, it’s only in recent days that this strategy has begun to take shape more noticeably. With Cole still needing several more bullpen sessions before facing live hitters, and the likelihood of some regression to the mean for the starting rotation, the Yankees’ offense needs to consistently pose a threat. The key lies in Soto and Judge forming a dominant 1-2 punch in the lineup’s second and third spots, allowing the Yankees to break games open.

For the 27th time in 36 games, the Yankees found themselves in a contest decided by three runs or fewer. In the seventh inning, Ian Hamilton allowed two runners inherited from Cortes to score, tying the game. However, this merely set the stage for Soto’s heroics at the bottom of the inning. Following the Tigers’ turn at bat in the top of the eighth, and with the field resembling a swamp due to rain, the game was temporarily halted and then called off.

These factors have kept the team afloat despite Judge not performing at his best and Cole’s absence. Additionally, more relief is on the horizon as Tommy Kahnle, sidelined due to shoulder inflammation, inches ever closer to making his long-awaited season debut. Additionally, a trio of reinforcements are diligently working their way back from Tommy John surgery – Scott Effross, Lou Trivino, and newcomer JT Brubaker are all expected to rejoin the team over the next few months. This influx of fresh arms will provide valuable depth and insurance against any adversity the Yankees may face as the season progresses.

All these give hope for what the Yankees can achieve in the days ahead.

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