Opposite Dugout: Surging Yankees holding down first place in AL East

yankees-logo.jpgManager: Aaron Boone (1st season)

Record: 28-12

Last 10 games: 8-2

Who to watch: RF Aaron Judge (.311 with 11 HR, 35 RBIs), DH Giancarlo Stanton (10 HR, 26 RBIs), SS Didi Gregorius (10 HR, 31 RBIs), 2B Gleyber Torres (.319), LHP CC Sabathia (2-0, 2.23 ERA), LHP Aroldis Chapman (9 saves),

Season series vs. Nationals: First meeting (1-3 in 2015)

Pitching Probables:

May 15: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (4-2) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (4-2), 7:05 p.m., MASN
May 16: LHP CC Sabathia (2-0) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (7-1), 7:05 p.m, MASN

Inside the Yankees:

The Bronx Bombers are cruising. During one recent stretch of dominant play, they managed to string together 17 victories in a span of 18 games, their first time reaching that accolade since June 1953. Aaron Boone, in his first year as a major league manager, is doing a stellar job and getting his club to gel quickly. At 28-12, the Yankees hold a half-game lead over the Red Sox in the American League East after winning 10 of 12 games in May.

Right fielder Aaron Judge has seven straight games with at least one RBI. Despite the hot streak, he will be going up against a pitcher on Wednesday that he has only faced once in his career: Nats ace Max Scherzer. That one plate appearance? The 2017 All-Star Game, where he was struck out. In his career, designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton is 4 for 18 against Scherzer with nine strikeouts and two home runs. Stanton has fared much better against lefties this season, batting .460. But against right-handers, that number drops to .190. Stanton is coming off a strong outing against the A’s on Sunday where he had four hits and three RBIs. Shortstop Didi Gregorius has been struggling of late, and is in a 1-for-31 tailspin. On April 12, he was first in the AL in slugging and eighth in batting average and on-base percentage. Catcher Gary Sánchez hit his 10th homer on Saturday against against the A’s. Judge, Stanton, Gregorius, and Sánchez all have hit at least 10 homers through 40 games, putting them each on pace to hit 40; a feat that no four players on the same team have ever accomplished in a single season in history. Second baseman Gleyber Torres has been living up to the hype ever since he was called up on April 22. Torres is the youngest player in franchise history (21 years, 144 days) to hit a walk-off home run. Third baseman Miguel Andujar has struggled recently and has not produced an extra-base hit in his last 14 games

After maintaining a 1.39 ERA through his first five games of the season, Tuesday starter CC Sabathia gave up his first home run since April 6 in his last outing on Wednesday against the Red Sox when he allowed four runs in four innings, his worst start of the season. Prior to that, the lefty had given up two runs in 19 innings over three starts, going at least six innings in all three outings. He is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts against the Nationals. The Yankees’ $22 million man, Masahiro Tanaka, had a bit of a shaky showing in his last start on Wednesday versus the Red Sox, giving up eight hits and two home runs. Other than that, the right-hander has been solid this season, pitching at least six innings in five of his eight starts. He won his only career start against the Nationals in 2015, surrendering a run on five hits, walking none and striking out six.

Aroldis Chapman has been throwing heat all season, including a 103.3 mph fastball against the Red Sox, which was the fastest pitch in the majors this season, according to Statcast. He’s saved nine games in 10 tries.

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