Just two games into the season, Aaron Judge thinks the Yankees need to have a sense of urgency.
After a loss to the lowly Orioles on Saturday in the second game of the season, Judge said the club needs to think like it did during the 2017 MLB playoffs when they trailed in the ALDS and ALCS.
"We've gotta have that mindset that our backs are against the wall, every single game," Judge told reporters after the Yankees' 5-3 loss to Baltimore. "In the playoffs, especially in '17, going down to Cleveland and Houston, our backs were against the wall and we came out and played our butts off. That's got to be our mindset. Our backs are against the wall. You can't take anybody lightly and we gotta capitalize on situations when they come up."
Saying that expectations are high for the Yankees is like saying the sky is blue, but there seems to be more of an emphasis on winning a World Series this season as it's been 10 years since their last championship, and they were ousted in the ALCS in 2017 and the ALDS last year.
The Yankees bolstered their starting rotation by acquiring James Paxton -- who made his Yankee debut Saturday and gave up two runs (one earned) in 5.1 innings -- in addition to re-signing J.A. Happ. They reinforced the bullpen by adding Adam Ottavino and re-signing Zack Britton.
And they already have a potent lineup, but they should be able to scratch out more runs against a team like the Orioles, which used an opener instead of a traditional starting pitcher and had nobody pitch longer than three innings. Giancarlo Stanton struck out in a big spot in the ninth, runners on first and third with one out.
Gary Sanchez didn't quell any concerns about his defense, commiting a costly throwing error in the sixth inning on a double steal as his throw skipped into center field, allowing a runner to score to put the Orioles up 2-1.
The season is just two games old, but Judge wants to make sure the Yankees are bringing their 'A' game every time they take the field, and his words set the tone early in this season of great expectations.