Despite their 45-36 record as the season reached the halfway point, this has been a strangely difficult season for the New York Yankees. They have had a challenging time developing the kind of consistency needed to dominate the American League East. The Yankees are a third-place team, trailing the first-place Tampa Bay Rays by 9.5 game and the second-place Baltimore Orioles by 4 games. However, one player who has given the Yankees a lift is centerfielder Harrison Bader.

New York Yankee manager Aaron Boone likes the way Bader has contributed to the Yankees with his hitting, defense and all-around ability.

However, Boone would feel even better about Bader if he could avoid injuries and stay in the lineup on a consistent basis. Bader has had 2 stints on the injured list that has cost him 46 games this season. The former St. Louis Cardinal has battled a strained oblique and a strained hamstring.

Here's why Boone likes Bader as much as he does: When he has been in the lineup for the Yankees, they have compiled a 24-11 record. That's especially meaningful since superstar Aaron Judge has been out of the lineup with his toe injury.

Wow,” Boone said. “Look, I think part of that is a testament to him and the kind of impact player he is on both sides of the ball.”

Harrison Bader has a slash line of .268/.295/.480 in 123 at bats for the Yankees. He has belted 6 home runs and driven in 22 runs. He has also demonstrated his skill on the base path, having stolen 7 bases in 9 attempts.

Bader and the Yankees are in St. Louis for a 3-game series with the disappointing Cardinals