By Ivan Morrobel
Published: September 26th, 2018
On paper, The Bronx Bombers (The NY Yankees) can go toe-to-toe with any team. Their lineup, which includes sluggers such as Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, and American League (AL) Rookie of The Year (ROY) front-runner Miguel Andujar, is currently ranked second overall in runs scored. Even their bullpen contains some notable elite relievers in Dellin Betances, Chad Green, and Zach Britton, who hasn’t pitched like himself since being acquired but is more than capable of getting hitters out with ease.
But regardless of what their roster is made up of, the Yankees desperately need finer outings from their starting pitching, as well as a quick resurgence from 26-year-old juggernaut Aaron Judge, who has recently returned from his fractured right wrist, if they are serious about going on a deep playoff run.
Judge, who had been on the disabled list since late July, is often immensely criticized for striking out. However, the 2016 ROY winner offers more than just homeruns and strikeouts. Prior to his injury, the Yankees right fielder posted 26 homers, 61 runs batted in, and an on-base percentage (.398) that is constantly overlooked. His patience at the plate has proven essential to their success.
However, good pitching performances outweigh superior hitting and the Yankees don’t have an evident starter they can trust every night currently—and that can be a big piece to winning a playoff series.
During the first half of the season, Luis Severino was a bona fide ace. In 20 starts, the 24-year-old went 14-2 with a 2.31 earned run average (ERA) and seemed to be the team’s go-to starter. Having said that, he’s been dreadful ever since, which has fans pondering whether he’s dependable or not.
Currently, the Yankees have two starters who have given them quality starts as of late. Masahiro Tanaka and one of their latest acquisitions, J.A. Happ have both maintained an ERA under three since the All-Star break.
Happ has won six of his first eight starts as a member of the Yankees, while Tanaka looks entirely better than the first half version of himself, who posted an ERA of 4.54 in 15 starts.
With only a couple of weeks left to the regular season, the Yankees must gear up for postseason baseball.
Although there are teams that haven’t been mathematically eliminated from contention yet, the American League is just about set.
The Yankees remain several games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. The Cleveland Indians have run away with the AL Central. And the Oakland Athletics are putting up a fight against the reigning World Series champion Houston Astros in the AL West, which will eventually force either team to face the Yankees in a one-game playoff.
With that in mind, the Yankees can’t go on cruise control over the next couple of weeks, or else they could end up away from the Bronx for the Wild Card game. The series against the Red Sox was a very important test for this Yankee team.
Winning the series two games to three, this shows that the Yankees may very well be able to hang with the division winners in the ALDS, assuming they win the wildcard game first.
There isn’t much time left for the Yankees to await the resurgence of a player such as Judge, but one thing for sure is World Series number 28 won’t be obtained without some healthy key players.
Yankee fans know the potential this team has and are ready to see them finally reach it.