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Yankees wins over Rays perfectly encapsulate this team’s abilities

Two nice wins against the Rays shows how good this team can be.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Yankees have started the 2018 season with a 4-2 record, but things haven’t exactly started smoothly. The team is currently dealing with a major loss in outfield depth with Jacoby Ellsbury, Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, and Billy McKinney all hurt. The back of the bullpen, including Dellin Betances, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle, have struggled in the early goings. Even the home opener was hit with snow. Despite all this, the Yankees are doing just fine.

Things were rocky to begin with, but after the last two games of the homestand against the Rays, we have really seen just how good this team can be when everything clicks. It shouldn’t be surprising that multiple players did well in two comfortable wins against one of the worst teams in the league. What was truly impressive, though, was the fact that so many people contributed to the victories. That’s how you know it’s good.

It all begins with the starting pitching. Heading into the series, CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray both struggled in their season debuts. With a bullpen like the Yankees have, that much less is expected from the starters. Still, you want to see your starter going out there, keeping you in the game, and eating up innings. On Tuesday, Jordan Montgomery did exactly what he was supposed to do. He stayed alive for five innings, allowing only one run. He’s the fifth starter, after all.

Then came Luis Severino, back out after his strong Opening Day start. He gave another strong outing by throwing 7.1 innings, striking out seven, and allowing only two runs on five hits. He largely seemed unhittable at times and did a good job keeping the ball on the ground all day. It truly feels like Severino has embraced his role at the top of the rotation and is showing how well he can do as the team’s ace. If this can continue, the Yankees will be just find going forward.

The talk of the town is how good this offense is supposed to be. Even with the loss of Greg Bird and the musical chairs at second and third, this team is absolutely set up to rake. The biggest names always seem to find a way to shine in the best ways. Didi Gregorius hit two home runs and collected eight RBI on Tuesday. Each of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez came up big on Wednesday by hitting three two-run home runs between them.

The biggest positive was seeing these guys get back up after some brutal performances. Just the other day, Yankees fans were booing Stanton for striking out five times on Tuesday. Don’t do that—seriously. The team’s newest slugger managed to get over that in a hurry with his first bomb at Yankee Stadium. He even threw in a bat flip for good measure. After slow starts, Judge and Sanchez came up big, with Judge’s home run being his first of the season. Now do you see what this lineup can do when all three of them are on? Maybe the big bats can get things going from here.

The final piece to the puzzle is still something of a work in progress. Kahnle blew a save opportunity on Tuesday, and if it wasn’t for the offense’s late-game breakout, things could have turned out worse. Still, Robertson, Adam Warren, and Aroldis Chapman did their jobs just fine in the last two games. Hopefully this group can iron everything out before too long because, as much as we are all focused on the offense, the bullpen is still one of the team’s most important weapons.

Coming up next is a four-game set against the Orioles. If their pitching lives up to its reputation, the Yankees should have fireworks going all weekend long.