NEW YORK — Luis Gil has the potential to be one of the best pitchers the New York Yankees employ if he can command his pitches.

Gil has been mostly unhittable through the first month of the season. He gave up just two hits in Sunday’s 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. He entered the game with a .098 expected batting average against, the best mark for any starting pitcher.

“With his stuff, he’s got a chance to be really successful,” manager Aaron Boone said before the game.

Gil struck out a career-high nine batters, lowered his season ERA to 2.75 and got his first win since 2021. Here are four takeaways after the Yankees’ sixth series win this year.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 20: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees reacts after striking out during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on April 20, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

What’s up with Aaron Judge?

It’s been a confounding start for the 2022 American League MVP. He has an OPS of just .674 and only three home runs this season. In Saturday’s game, he struck out four times, looked lost at the plate and was booed off the field.

Both Judge and Boone don’t have any concern over his slow start. Most of Judge’s underlying metrics are in line with his past couple of seasons. The biggest difference is how he’s hitting the ball; he’s squaring up the baseball worse this year, with his barrel percentage and sweet-spot percentage down this year. One area to note is Judge’s success against fastballs. In 2023, he had a 1.170 OPS and 24 homers against heaters. His OPS against fastballs was down to .690 entering Sunday’s game. But, he’s whiffing at fewer fastballs this year compared to his 2023 numbers, so it’s not like he’s been overmatched.

If Judge is completely healthy — which he says he is — it should be a matter of time before he gets rolling. — Kirschner

The Yankees aren’t slugging

This is partly connected to Judge slumping to begin the season, but the Yankees aren’t doing enough damage at the plate. They entered Sunday’s game 18th in slugging percentage and 13th in total home runs. This lineup was built to mash and hasn’t done much of that to begin the season.

Judge, Gleyber Torres and Anthony Rizzo have a combined four home runs. Juan Soto and Giancarlo Stanton have combined for nearly half of the team’s 22 homers. In Sunday’s game, the Yankees strung together a few singles to plate four runs in the fifth inning.

Small ball can work, but the best way to win games remains hitting more home runs than the opponent. When it comes time for playoff baseball, stringing together multiple hits to score becomes more challenging because the pitching is usually better.

Because of the makeup of the Yankees’ roster, they should be near the top in slugging percentage as the season progresses, but it’s something to watch. — Kirschner

The potential impact of returning players

Several Yankees are on the mend. Let’s look at what their returns could mean.

DJ LeMahieu: The veteran is expected to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday. Recently, he said he could probably use five or six rehab games before he’s ready to return. The Yankees hope that by then Torres (54 OPS+ entering Sunday) will be out of his funk. But if not, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the Yankees to shift Oswaldo Cabrera and his suddenly dangerous left-handed bat to second base, particularly against tougher right-handed pitchers. Yes, Torres has historically been a strong hitter, but the Yankees can’t ignore Cabrera.

Tommy Kahnle and Lou Trivino: With Kahnle close to participating in live batting practice and Trivino a couple of weeks away from throwing them, the Yankees could have two high-leverage arms returning to their bullpen soon. Heading into Sunday, Yankees relievers were last in MLB in strikeouts per nine innings at 6.9. Kahnle carries a career mark of 10.6 with Trivino at 9.5. — Kuty

Put John Sterling in Monument Park?

I lean toward yes. But if Sterling gets in, Suzyn Waldman must also get a spot. Michael Kay, too.

They’re the voices current Yankees fans most associate with some of the best years of the franchise — the five World Series wins, the Core Four and the peak of the George Steinbrenner era. Maybe the Yankees haven’t closed the door on the possibility. They didn’t give him a spot when they honored him Saturday, but give them a break. Sure, Sterling’s retirement wasn’t a shock, but it also wasn’t expected to come so soon.

Sterling’s home run calls, voice and “Thaaa Yankees win!” formed the soundtrack to Yankees baseball for so many, regardless of what you think of his shtick. But Waldman and Kay were far more than just along for the ride. Kay’s been a part of pinstripe lore about as long as Sterling and Waldman’s impact on the growth of women in sports and broadcasting can’t be understated or ignored — in fact, it should be celebrated in Monument Park. — Kuty