Yankees change offensive strategy, Cabrera rolls on with multi-hit barrage

Oswaldo Cabrera has two hits, including a crucial RBI single in the fifth inning as the Yankees beat the Rays 5-4 at Yankee Stadium on April 21, 2024.
Inna Zeyger
Monday April 22, 2024

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The Yankees bounced back from a shutout loss the previous day with a gritty performance at the plate on Sunday, showcasing their ability to turn patience into production and secure a crucial 5-4 victory over the Rays.

Following a stellar outing from their starting pitcher, the Yankees wasted no time capitalizing on his efforts. A decisive four-run fifth inning, fueled by a string of RBI singles, proved to be the difference maker. Each of the Yankees’ five runs were sourced from four RBI singles and there was a noticeable absence of attempts to hit big and wide. All hits were focused on making runs.

Unlike the previous day’s offensive struggles, the Yankees meticulously crafted each of their five runs. Anthony Rizzo set the early tone with a two-out RBI single in the first inning, scoring Juan Soto. However, the pivotal moment came in the fifth inning. With two outs on the board, the bottom of the lineup came alive. Alex Verdugo, Jose Trevino, and Oswaldo Cabrera, all delivered clutch singles, driving in runs and propelling the Yankees to a commanding 5-1 lead.

Leading the charge was Alex Verdugo, who collected a team-high three hits. Verdugo, along with Trevino and Cabrera, took advantage of their recent hot streaks by attacking the first pitch they saw. This aggressive approach quickly transformed the game from a tight 1-1 contest into a comfortable lead for the Yankees.


Yankees manager Aaron Boone emphasized that the team’s success wasn’t about passivity, but rather about making smart choices at the plate. He acknowledged the quality pitching by Civale but praised his team for extending at-bats and capitalizing on scoring opportunities. In particular, Boone commended Verdugo’s disciplined approach, highlighting his ability to follow the game plan and drive in key runs. This focus was evident in Verdugo’s two-run single, which not only put the Yankees ahead but also showcased his overall value, as he later showcased his defensive prowess with a remarkable sliding catch in left-center field.

“It’s not about necessarily being passive, it’s about aggressively hunting a pitch you’re looking for,” the Yankees skipper said. “I thought Civale was really good today and the fact that they were able to outlast him in some at-bats and create traffic there and then Dugie went up there looking in a spot, got it and delivered. I think these guys through it all are trying to have really tough at-bats. That doesn’t mean you don’t swing at the first pitch.”

Reflecting on his performance, Verdugo acknowledged his desire to make the most of his recent hot streak and seize the moment. He stressed the importance of delivering key hits with two outs, recognizing their ability to uplift teammates and maintain momentum throughout the game. The Yankees OF also commended Cabrera and Trevino for their quality at-bats, highlighting the collective effort that led to the Yankees’ crucial win.

Cabrera cements his Yankees place as LeMahieu nears return


While Jose Trevino stays hot at the plate, extending his hitting streak to six games and going 8-for-19 during that stretch, Oswaldo Cabrera continues to shine as a valuable asset. Cabrera boasts a .303 batting average and an .838 OPS in his 18 games played this season.

A scare arose in the first inning when Gleyber Torres fouled a pitch off his left foot. Despite showing discomfort, Torres remained in the game after being checked by the trainer and manager Aaron Boone. Torres finished the day 1-for-3 with a walk.

With DJ LeMahieu nearing a rehab assignment, Cabrera continues to fill the void admirably. Cabrera played a key role in the Yankees’ win on Sunday against the Rays, collecting two hits, including a crucial RBI single during the decisive four-run fifth inning.

Cabrera’s impressive performance extends beyond his overall stats. He thrives with runners in scoring position, currently batting a remarkable .429 with a 1.028 OPS in such situations. This makes him a valuable weapon for the Yankees’ offense, and his 14 RBIs place him second on the team behind only Juan Soto.

While DJ LeMahieu’s return is on the horizon, Boone remained tight-lipped about Cabrera’s role once LeMahieu rejoins the lineup. The Yankees manager acknowledged Cabrera’s significance but emphasized the team’s focus on the present challenges. He offered a positive update on LeMahieu’s recovery from a non-displaced fracture, confirming his rehab assignment with Double-A Somerset starting on Tuesday. Boone concluded by expressing the team’s flexibility and readiness to adjust the lineup as needed throughout the season.

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