Yankees not ready to move Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton in lineup

In an ideal world, Aaron Boone would likely not continue to keep rolling out Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton as his No. 1 and 2 hitters.

But the Yankees don’t exactly have that luxury these days, meaning the one-two slug may continue during the club’s five-game road trip against the Red Sox and Brewers that begins Tuesday in Boston.

“We’ll see,” manager Aaron Boone said Sunday. “As we get more guys back, not necessarily. But perhaps here in the short term.”

The early results have been tough to argue.

In the Yankees’ two games with Judge and Stanton leading off their order, they exploded for 20 runs against a Rays pitching staff that specializes in run prevention. In their first 17 meetings of the season, the Rays held the Yankees to just 2.8 runs per game.

Of course, it was only two games, but it was two games in which the Yankees still did not have a full-strength lineup and yet figured out a way to make the most of the healthy pieces they do have.

Aaron Judge delivers an RBI single for the Yankees
Bill Kostroun/

Across the two games, Judge went 4-for-8 with two runs and two RBIs. Stanton, in his first two starts back since fouling a ball off his foot last Monday, went 3-for-7 with two home runs, two walks, four runs and four RBIs.

“When they’re at their best, they’re great hitters,” Boone said. “Because we got a couple guys back, ‘G’ being one of those, it just lengthens the order. Both days, the first inning, both those guys got on. So it looks really good, especially when the rest of the order follows it up and drives them in.

“It’s good to see Giancarlo really stringing together some really good at-bats. When that happens and you got Judge there, you better be on top of your game right out of the chute.”

Just as importantly, there was not a black hole after Judge and Stanton.

On Saturday, after the duo singled to lead off the first inning, the Yankees followed with five straight singles behind them on the way to staking out a 6-0 lead. The Nos. 3-7 hitters — Gleyber Torres, Josh Donaldson, Oswaldo Cabrera Miguel Andujar and Isiah Kiner-Falefa — each had two-hit games. Donaldson also punctuated his return from the paternity list with a home run.

On Sunday, after Judge singled and Stanton walked to start the first inning, Torres followed with the first of his two home runs on the day for a 3-0 lead.

Giancarlo Stanton
Getty Images

“I feel like the pitcher on the opposite team is really impacted,” Torres said. “I feel comfortable when I got those guys there because I know what they can do for the team. It just feels a little more relaxed because we don’t have all the pressure and all the weight. The most important thing for us is everybody healthy and we know what we can do.”

The Yankees are still awaiting that full health. Anthony Rizzo (headaches) is not expected to come off the IL until this weekend at the earliest. DJ LeMahieu (toe inflammation) is targeting next week’s homestand, although that remains up in the air. And Andrew Benintendi (broken hook of hamate bone) and Matt Carpenter (broken toe) might not be options for at least a few more weeks, if at all.

But after a series that began with Boone stating that “the season waits for no one” — and then the Rays getting within 3 ½ games of first place Friday night — the Yankees picked themselves up and pushed their lead atop the AL East back to 5 ½ games with 21 to play.

“We gotta go get ready for Boston,” Boone said. “Try not to get caught up in [the lead]. By definition, it feels better. But we got [21] to go and we gotta get ourselves right and whole and play our best. That’s what we’re searching for and striving for.”


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