CHICAGO — After hitting two home runs in his first 27 games, Josh Donaldson hit two in two nights. The veteran third baseman got off to a slow start, hitting .215/.342/.344 with a .686 OPS, but has been heating up as the Yankees offense is shifting into high gear.
“I still feel like he’s getting there,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, “and I feel like that’s kind of been where he’s been for the last couple of weeks. He’s been getting on base. He’s been popping one ball a game that he’s smoking. He’s got the ball in the air a little bit more the last couple of days, obviously hitting the ball out of the ballpark. He had a couple of line drives over (White Sox outfielder AJ) Pollock’s head last night, too.
“So I think [he’s] starting to get the ball on a line and in the air a little bit more consistently. But the at-bat quality, he’s been kind of grinding that way the last few weeks, where he’s getting that hit or getting that walk each and every day and now he started following [with] some damage.”
Donaldson has had multiple hits in each of his last two games after having just one in the previous 27. He’s driven in six RBI in the last two games and had seven in the 27 before that.
He sees it as a product of a diverse lineup.
“I think what’s really making us go right now is one through nine. We’re really doing a good job of putting the at-bats together. And when you can do that it takes pressure off of everybody else,” Donaldson said. “[Aaron] Judge. [Giancarlo] Stanton, [Anthony] Rizzo, [Joey] Gallo and myself, everybody’s stringing those at-bats together. When you do that. It makes your offense very dangerous.”
YANKS DIG THE LONG BALL
The Yankees have been preaching diversity in their lineup, but Saturday night again showed how much they rely on the homer. After hitting 11 homers in their last four games, the Bombers went without one in the loss.
“It is an important part of the game,” Boone said. “And we certainly have guys that can get the ball out of the ballpark. … One of the exciting things early on in the season, as we’ve talked a lot about, is the amount of ways we’ve been able to win ball games; low scoring, defense, base running, pitching and hitting the ball out of the ballpark. The fact that we’ve really swung well the last couple of nights and hit the ball out of the ballpark. Hopefully it just continues to give us confidence that we can win in a lot of different ways.”
They went into Saturday night’s game against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field leading the majors with 48 home runs. While Boone has been quick to point out that they are getting big walks and doubles, he admits the long ball is an important part of the Yankees offense.
Aaron Judge leads the majors with 12 homers, Giancarlo Stanton has 10.
The Yankees scored double-digit runs in the first two games of the series and have done it six times already this season — matching their total for all of 2021.
They also lead the big leagues in OPS (.755) and slugging (.430).
TALK TO ME
The White Sox got their first run off Gerrit Cole on a balk Friday night. It came when he went to throw to first, but DJ LeMahieu had left the bag. Boone said it was just bad communication from the bench on down.
“Just not quality enough communication, something that we’ve addressed. Something that shouldn’t happen,” Boone said. “It starts with me and runs on down through like that. You know, that’s something that we may need to make sure we’re airtight about and communicate better.”