After the Yankees ended their 11-game winning streak in Toronto Wednesday night, they acknowledged the challenge posed by the Blue Jays.
“We know we have to play well to beat them,” Aaron Boone said after the one-run loss. “Every time you play these guys, you expect a challenge.”
That’s something they might not be able to say about most of their upcoming opponents.
Outside of a two-game set against Toronto in the Bronx, the Yankees do not face another team with a winning record until they visit the Rays on May 26 for a four-game streak.
After Thursday’s day off, the Yankees host the Rangers, who came into the game Thursday with a disappointing 10-14 despite two big hits in the offseason. Texas signed two infielders that some saw as potential candidates for the Yankees: Corey Seager and Marcus Semien.
The early results weren’t good for Texas.
Seager was fine, but it took him a while to find his power punch since leaving the Dodgers.
The 28-year-old, who signed a 10-year, $325 million deal to join Rangers, enters the series with a .398 slugging percentage, a far cry from his career mark of .500.
He hit one homer in three straight games in late April but still has five extra base hits in 102 plate appearances.
Perhaps his greatest moment as a Ranger came when Angels manager Joe Maddon decided to deliberately run Seager with the bases loaded last month.
The scouts are confident Seager will find his form as he becomes more comfortable in his new surroundings.
Semien’s struggles were more worrying.
After signing Toronto to Texas on a seven-year, $175 million deal, Semien is still looking for his first homer of the year. A year ago he turned 45 with the Blue Jays.
And only 11 players have an OPS lower than Semien’s 0.494 mark.
The 31-year-old had a rocky start with the Blue Jays last year and only got going in May. No doubt Rangers are hoping that will be the case this season as well.
The Yankees suspended the free-agent shortstop market, instead opting to trade Isiah Kiner-Falefa after he was dealt from Texas to Minnesota.
Kiner-Falefa provided a steady glove at the shortstop that allowed Gleyber Torres to return to second base and was solid at the plate.
His early success has taken some of the limelight out of Oswald Peraza at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Anthony Volpe at Double-A Somerset, who the Yankees are expected to be battling for spots on their major league roster over the next year or two .
After the Rangers series, the Yankees host the Blue Jays for a few games before traveling to Chicago to face the White Sox, who were considered AL Central favorites but have so far been outplayed by the Twins.
The Yankees then return to the streets to once again face the last-placed Orioles before Chicago and Baltimore both come to the Bronx.
So it’s no surprise that the Yankees seemed confident that while their streak was coming to an end Wednesday night, another might not be far behind.
“We’re starting over again,” Aaron Hicks said of the team’s mentality heading into Friday. “That’s pretty much all you can do. We had a good stretch and we know we’re capable of winning so many games [in a row] once again.”
However, as Aaron Judge pointed out, even with early success, the Yankees haven’t proved anything.
“It’s only 11 games,” Judge said of the success. “We still have more work to do.”
https://nypost.com/2022/05/05/yankees-have-golden-chance-to-really-take-off-now/ The Yankees now have a golden opportunity to really take off