The unavoidable question with these surging, surprising, home-run-swatting Yankees is whether their torrid winning pace is sustainable over 162 games. Many across baseball think the answer is no, for a host of reasons.
Joe Girardi and his players pay no mind to those doubters. It’s early, but they are confident a 28th World Series is an attainable, realistic goal. The Yankees manager made that clear Thursday when he was asked how he gets his players to believe they can maintain their elite play for the remainder of 2017.
“Don’t worry. They believe,” Girardi said dryly. “It’s simple. I don’t have to sell them on anything.”
The Yankees have the third-best winning percentage in baseball. Through 32 games, they scored the most runs (182) and hit the most dingers (52) in the American League. Their bullpen sports the third-best ERA in the majors, and their starting pitching has been good enough to keep a juggernaut offense in games.
It’s the exact combination Girardi envisioned in spring training. And it’s why the skipper thought his team could be a championship contender entering this season.
“That’s the thought going in…that you’re going to compete, you’re going to compete at a high level and you’re going to fight to win the World Series,” Girardi said. “I said all along after spring training — and I’m not going to change — that I really believe in this team. We were going to score a lot more runs, that we had a very, very effective bullpen and I thought our starters were going to be better. Where that leads us, we’re going to find out after 162 games. But I really believed it.”
“Our guys believe, and they should believe,” Girardi continued. “They’re very talented.”
WELCOME TO THE BRONX
The Yankees called up rookie righthander Giovanny Gallegos from Triple-A on Thursday to fill the spot vacated by Chad Green, who was optioned after Tuesday’s loss in Cincinnati.
A 25-year-old from Mexico, Gallegos pitched to a 3.86 ERA in 10 appearances this season for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Girardi said the Yankees made the move after the bullpen received some needed rest on Wednesday’s off day. Relievers combined to throw 11 innings in Sunday’smarathon win over the Cubs.
“He’s been pitching better,” Girardi said of Gallegos. “He’s got a couple of different breaking balls, he’s got a pretty good fastball, he had a really good year in the minor leagues.”
Gallegos said his mother and sisters flew up from Mexico for Thursday’s game. He’d never been to the Stadium before.
“It’s incredible because this is my dream, to play in the big leagues,” Gallegos said. “I feel so happy. It’s a lot of emotions.”
Gallegos did not pitch on Thursday.