BOSTON — The last time the Yankees came into Fenway Park, they were riding high having won seven out of their last nine.
They’d had meetings and talked about being punched in the mouth and decided it was time to punch back.
And then they got leveled. Not only were they swept, the Red Sox embarrassed their ace.
This weekend, the Yankees come in to face the division-leading Red Sox having won eight of their last 12 games, including getting their first two wins of the season over Boston, riding the adrenaline rush of having Scranton RailRiders call-ups provide a much needed spark.
“I think we’re ready to go there and keep having fun,” Rougned Odor said. “We’ll keep playing the game that we’ve been playing the last couple games.”
The Yankees may be having fun, but the pressure is on. They come into this four-game series seven games back of the Red Sox in the American League East. They also play three games against the second-place Rays leading up to 4 p.m. trade deadline on July 30. They are 3.5 games back in the AL wild card race.
“We look forward to going to play those guys,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Obviously, it’s a challenge but I think the guys are really enjoying the game right now. So, we’ll turn the page and try to do that again.”
They are most likely going to have to try and make up ground without some of their best players. They have won five out of their last six games without Aaron Judge, Gio Urshela, Jonathan Loaisiga and Wandy Peralta, who are all on the COVID-19 injured list. They have also been without Luke Voit, who went on the IL out of the All-Star break with inflammation in his surgically-repaired left knee.
But they have gotten a spark and a dose of speed and small ball from their so-called “Rail Birds,” as Ryan LaMarre called them after hitting the pinch-hit, walk-off 10th inning single to beat the Phillies Wednesday night.
Greg Allen is 5-for-12 with three stolen bases and five runs scored in the five games he’s played since he was called up. LaMarre is 3-for-11 with a home run and three RBI in the two games he has played during his second stint with the major league club. Estevan Florial is 3-for-9 with a home run, a stolen base and two RBI.
The call-ups have not only brought energy and excitement, but that ability to run the bases well and aggressively, using that to push the defenses.
“Obviously, we all dream of being here in New York. I think it helps obviously to see the familiar faces. We’re there to pick each other up, we’ve seen each other struggle, we’ve seen each other have success, we’ve been together for a few months now,” LaMarre said. “So the Rail Birds are here and we’re having fun.”