|Miguel Andujar and Neil Walker during Thursday's win in Houston. @Yankees.|
The Yankees have made their slow start a distant memory, as they have won 12 of their last 13 games through Thursday's come-from-behind win in Houston.
After a loss to Toronto at Yankee Stadium on Friday, April 20 left the Yankees at 9-9, they took the last two of that series against the Blue Jays and then swept the Minnesota Twins in a four-game set to close that homestand at 7-2.
They then hit the road, where they swept the Angels in dominating fashion, and then took three out of four in Houston over the defending champion Astros to improve to 21-10, just one game behind the Red Sox for first place in the American League East.
For the Yankees, as much as their hitting makes the headlines, it's pitching that makes the biggest statement.
The Yankees rotation made a major statement on this seven-game road trip, starting with ace Luis Severino.
The runner up for the American League Cy Young last season threw seven strong innings in Anaheim last Friday night, when he went seven innings, and allowed just three runs on five hits with eight strikeouts.
Severino got a no-decision in that one, as he left with the Yankees down 3-2, but they tied it in the ninth, and won it on a Didi Gregorius home run in the 10th inning, 4-3.
In his next start, in Houston Wednesday night, he had possibly the best outing of his career, as he threw a complete game shutout, allowing just five hits and a walk, while striking out 10.
Severino is now 5-1 on the season with a superb 2.11 ERA, with 52 strikeouts in 47 innings, and just 11 runs, 28 hits, and 12 walks allowed, giving him a WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) of just 0.85.
Masahiro Tanaka got it going in Anaheim, as he was staked out to a 10-0 lead in the second inning on Saturday night. He went six innings and allowed just one run on two hits, with a couple of walks and nine strikeouts in the 11-1 Yankees win.
He kept it going on Thursday in Houston, as he shut out the Astros for six innings, and then allowed a few runs in the seventh, an inning in which Chad Green eventually let Houston take a 4-3 lead.
The Yankees rallied to win that one 6-5 as they scored three runs in the ninth inning.
CC Sabathia had the best start of his season on Sunday night in Anaheim as he made a two-run home run from Gary Sanchez in the fourth inning stand up.
Sabathia went six innings, and allowed just one run on five hits, with a walk and four strikeouts to earn his second win of the season.
The Yankees were even able to take a positive out of the one loss of their trip, as Sonny Gray showed the ace form from his Oakland days.
Gray allowed just two runs on four hits, with four strikeouts and only three walks in six innings in a 2-1 loss to the Astros on Monday.
Yankees playoff nemesis Charlie Morton outdueled Gray, as he went 7 2/3 innings, and allowed just one run on two hits and a pair of walks, while striking out 10 to improve to 4-0 on the season with a 1.72 ERA.
Tuesday night was the best example of the Yankees showing championship form, as they pulled out a victory after losing starter Jordan Montgomery.
The Yankees turned to Domingo German, who went four innings, allowing no runs on four hits and a walk, while striking out four.
Chad Green, Dellin Betances, and David Robertson then went an inning each, keeping Houston off the board, while allowing just a couple of hits, no walks, and striking out six.
That impressive performance from the Yankees bullpen kept them in it against Houston starter Justin Verlander, who went eight innings, and allowed just three hits and no walks, and striking out 14.
Houston turned to Ken Giles in the ninth inning, and the Yankees too advantage, as they put up four runs, with the big blast a three-run
shot from Gary Sanchez.
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman closed out the 4-0 win in the ninth,as he struck out the side.
In the seven games on the road trip, the Yankees allowed just 12 runs, including just three runs or less in six of the seven games.
In Houston, the Yankees notched back-to-back 4-0 shutouts on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and did not allow a run for 28 innings, from the fourth inning on Monday night to the seventh inning on Thursday afternoon.
Three of the Yankees wins on the trip came in their last at-bat, with two of those come-from-behind victories.
That proves this team can be as clutch as they were last season, with the difference being that rookies Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres are playing a big role.
As strong as the Yankees' offense is, it is only better when they know the starters are going deep and keeping them in the game.
The Yankees return home on Friday night for a big nine-game homestand, starting with three against the Cleveland Indians, who they outlasted in the playoffs last year. They then take on the rival Red Sox in a three-game set next Tuesday through Thursday, followed by three against the Oakland Athletics next weekend.