By Chad Jennings

New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann (34) and relief

New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann (34) and relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman (54) celebrate with Jacoby Ellsbury, and Aaron Hicks, right, after a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday, June 9, 2016, in New York. The Yankees won 6-3.

Guess we should start with the good news: The Yankees are a .500 baseball team. They’ve won four straight, swept a series against the Angels, scored at least five runs in seven of their past eight games, and they’re collectively hitting .323 during this stretch.

This might be the best they’ve played all year.

“We knew as a team that were going to be able to score runs,” Carlos Beltran said. “We can’t expect this every night. There’s going to be days where maybe two or three runs is going to be enough to win ballgames with the pitching and with the bullpen that we have, but the mentality right now offensively (is) just to go out there and try to put up as many runs as we can.”

The Yankees also happen to be undefeated during this year’s HOPE Week, and they’ve won 15 of their past 17 HOPE Week games overall. They’re 27-10 during HOPE Week games since the start of the event.

So maybe it’s all about good karma from a week of charitable events. Or maybe it’s a matter of playing a really bad team. Or maybe this team has simply finally found a stride it can maintain.

Up next is a weekend series against the Tigers, then a road trip through Colorado and Minnesota, which offers more opportunities to play teams with losing records. The Yankees have an opportunity to make up some ground, and tonight they pulled within a game of the Blue Jays for third place in the division. They’re still 6.5 games out of first place.

“You can’t get to over .500 until you get there,” Joe Girardi said. “And we’ve been there one other time a couple weeks ago, and then we fell back under, so I think it was important (to get back). Got some big contributions from people tonight, and we gotta keep playing well.”

Parmelee heading for disabled list

It’s not official, and I suppose it’s not entirely a sure thing, but there’s very little doubt aboutChris Parmelee‘s status. He’s going to end up on the disabled list. Girardi said he didn’t have a final diagnosis — right now, it’s only being labeled a right hamstring injury — but he knows Parmelee won’t be available.

“I would be completely shocked if he’s a player for us,” Girardi said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that happen before, so I was a little bit of shock for me when I saw it.”

It’s not all that unusual to see a first baseman do the splits to stretch for a ball, but Parmelee went down hard and clearly did some damage. He couldn’t even walk off the field. As for what the Yankees do to replace him, that seems to be anyone’s guess. What best fits is a left-handed first baseman, but Nick Swisher has really struggled from the left side of the plate, and neither Ben Gamel nor Jake Cave has any meaningful first base experience (if they have any first base experience at all).

Girardi indicated the most likely solution will be to stick with Rob Refsnyder on an everyday basis and see what he can do.

“We’re going to have to find out,” Girardi said. “I mean, probably. He’s done a good job over there. The plays he’s had to make, he’s made them, so, like I said, I’ll talk to Cash more tonight and make some decisions.”

Another solid start for Nova

Allowing three runs through 6.1 innings, Ivan Nova delivered another quality start in his seventh turn since stepping into the rotation. He’s lasted at least six innings in his past five starts. He would have finished with an even better line, but he allowed a two-run homer on his final pitch of the night.

“I’ve been having good outings,” Nova said. “Some not so good, but I feel good about the way I’m throwing the ball lately.”

The Yankees have won five of his seven starts. That’s a pretty significant upgrade after losing all seven of Luis Severino‘s starts earlier this year. Would have been unthinkable three months ago, but at this point, it seems the Yankees are in no rush to get Severino back. Nova’s been better.

“He’s done a good job,” Girardi said. “Is that his fifth win? Yeah, he’s done a good job. He’s getting us into the seventh most nights, he’s using his sinker/curveball combination, he threw a few change-ups tonight. He’s done a good job.”

Odds and ends

  • According to Elias, Carlos Beltran is the first Yankees player to have at least two RBI in a each game of a series of at least four games since Chris Chambliss in 1977 (he also did it against the Angels). This is actually the second time in Beltran’s career that he’s had at least two RBI in four straight games.
  • The Yankees are 12-1 when Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner each score a run in the same game. They’re 34-5 since the start of 2015 when that’s happened. Ellsbury is hitting .336 in his past 30 games. Gardner is hitting .556 in his past seven games.
  • Before he got hurt Chris Parmelee, became the second player to this year to drive in a run in each of his first two career starts as a Yankee. The other was Starlin Castro.
  • In his past nine games, Alex Rodriguez is hitting .342 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI. He’s raised his season batting average from .170 to .222.

Final word

We’ll once again give the final word to Beltran:

“I think we played good baseball this series, and happy to start the home stand on a positive note. We just need to continue to find a way to continue to play the same way we’ve been doing. I think right now, we’re pitching good, we’re playing good defense, we’re hitting well. We need to continue to stay with the same plan.”

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