New York Yankees
Aaron Hicks #31 and Gary Sanchez #24 of the New York Yankees celebrate Hicks' two-run home run against the Texas Rangers during the ninth inning at Globe Life Park on May 21, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees entered the 2018 MLB season with the highest of expectations after reaching Game 7 of last year’s ALCS and trading for Giancarlo Stanton fewer than two months later. They even surpassed the defending champion Houston Astros to become the World Series favorites in spring training.

With Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start of summer just around the corner, the Yankees have not disappointed.

New York (31-13) owns the best record in baseball with a half-game lead over the Boston Red Sox (32-15) for first place in the AL East. Houston (30-18) has MLB’s third-best record, and they are the only team with a better run differential (98 to 81) than the Yankees.

After winning nine of their first 18 games, the Yankees lost just once over their next 18 games. The team hasn’t had an extended losing streak since their .500 start, winning eight straight series. That includes series wins over Houston, Boston, and the Los Angeles Angels (26-21). New York also swept a three-game set with the first-place Cleveland Indians (22-23).

The Bronx Bombers have lived up to their name, led by an offense that created so much of the hype surrounding this team. The Yankees lead all MLB teams in runs scored, home runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius are among the 20 AL players that have at least 10 home runs, even though each one has had an extended slump at some point this year. Cleveland is the only other team in the league that has three players with double-digit homers.

Tyler Austin and Gleyber Torres rank first and second among AL rookies in both home runs and RBI. Austin hit two homers Sunday and Torres added two in New York’s 10-5 win over the Texas Rangers Monday night, giving the team 12 multi-homer games on the season.

The Yankees’ pitching has more than held its own with the AL’s third-best ERA. The Red Sox are just ahead of them, and the Astros have the best staff in the majors.

A season after they won their first title in franchise history with the league’s top offense, Houston’s pitching is leading the way. Their 2.43 ERA is more than a full run better than Boston’s and no team in the National League has an ERA better than 3.28.

The dominance of Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton might make the Astros the World Series favorites when the playoffs begin, but the Yankees’ offense is proving to be something special.