NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez is out for the next two weeks, at least. Mark Teixeira will probably be absent at least another game or two. Jacoby Ellsbury? Who knows.
But maybe it's exactly what they needed.Aroldis Chapman keying Yankees' turnaround The Yankees are still in last place, but they're 2-0 since new closer Aroldis Chapman arrived, and his presence has helped a struggling offense wake up in a big way, too. 5/10/16 (Randy Miller | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
The Yankees and their depleted lineup have scored 25 runs in their last four games (three wins), while it took their 11 previous games to match that total.
Yep, the likes of Ben Gamel, Aaron Hicks, and Dustin Ackley are just what this team needed, apparently.
"It's kind of a crazy game," left fielder Brett Gardner said. "Sometimes you have what you think is your best lineup and you struggle to score runs for a week straight, then you're missing three of your best players and you score a bunch of runs. Baseball has a funny way of working out like that. Guys like Ackley, Hicks and Gamel, we need those guys. They're only going to get better if they get at-bats on a consistent basis, which they have recently."
Going back further New York has won 5-of-7 games and are ever so slowly creeping back into respectability, at 13-18. Reaching .500 is now a goal, manager Joe Girardi said, but more importantly they need to win series, he said. With a 10-7 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, they've at least clinched a series tie.
Girardi didn't have much explanation for why his lineup is now all of a sudden hitting.
"If I knew, I would have flipped the switch a long time ago," he said. "Maybe it's the weather heating up? I don't know."
Yanks' prospects heating up at Triple-A
On Tuesday the bottom third of the lineup had all the runs driven in until catcher Brian McCann smoked a two-run double in the eighth inning, the dagger in a game that featured three home runs from K.C.'s center fielder Lorenzo Cain, it should be noted. McCann collected three hits (his most since September of last season) on the night while Didi Gregorius was 2-for-4 with a bases-loaded double.
Since becoming a Yankee last season, Gregorius is hitting .500 (9-for-18) with the bases loaded and has 22 RBI.
"There's a lot of track records in here," McCann said of the lineup. "We just got off to a slow start. We need to keep building and building and building. Keep winning ballgames, keep winning series."
Hicks, starting in place of Ellsbury, drove in a go-ahead RBI Tuesday, and even though the Yankees won by three, Gamel scored what proved to be the game-winning run in the eighth. Tuesday was Gamel's first career start.
"I think right now we're just trying to do what we can to win games," Hicks said. "Play as a team. Situations come up, and be able to drive runners in. That's what we're trying to do."
Winning cures all, and right now the Yankees are on the upswing. It only took six weeks.
Ryan Hatch may be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ryanhatch. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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