It’s mid-July and if we had any doubts about the Yankees at the start of the season, it’s safe to say they’ve been erased. They’re at the top of the AL East with an impressive record of 57-31, five games ahead of the second-place Tampa Bay Rays and eight games ahead of the dreaded Boston Red Sox. As we ease closer to the postseason and even closer to the MLB trade deadline at the end of the month, the only thing the Yankees are really wanting for is one thing: Pitching. Here’s a look at how the Yankees are faring at the season mid-point.
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It was definitely fun to watch the Yankees take care of the Red Sox at the debut London Series. But New York’s success runs deeper than that. It’s been a season-long build in the face of endless injuries, and now they’re at the top of the game. Yankees Manager Aaron Boone might be saying things like “We have a long way to go,” but many of those watching (including the press) are saying things like, “The 2019 Yankees: Championship or Bust.”
And never forget that time GM Brian Cashman called this team “a fully operational Death Star”…
Yes, the Yankees look that good. Strictly based on stats, even if the Yankees continue the season with a .500 record, it’ll still be hard for the other AL teams to catch up. (And honestly, we fully expect them to perform better than that.) We might’ve talked about the Dodgers finally winning a World Series, but it looks like the Bronx Bombers might spoil their fun! Of course, there are still about 70 games remaining this season, so anything could happen…
About the Pitching. They Need More.
This is nothing new. A bunch of the top MLB teams right now need pitchers. The Yankees don’t want to get to October feeling unprepared in the bullpen like they have the past few years, so they’re currently on the hunt. They’ve been able to win consistently this season despite over 20 injuries and a lack of solid starting pitchers. But just imagine what they could do if they had a few…
So what’s the problem? Well, there are several. Luis Severino is rehabbing a rotator cuff injury until August. James Paxton still hasn’t delivered results. Dellin Betances hasn’t pitched yet this season. And they can’t expect starter Masahiro Tanaka to carry the team through the whole postseason, no matter how comfortable and dominant he is on the mound. Domingo German can’t do it all either.
Some are calling for trade deals to acquire the Giants star pitcher Madison Bumgarner, who has proven his worth in October with wins in both NLCS and World Series games. Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays is another name being tossed around.
There’s likely to be a bit of competition between all of the top clubs though, as the Twins and the Astros – the team that’s most likely to stand in the way of a Yankees’ championship – are also vying for fresh pitching blood before the July 31st deadline.
And the Batting?
The Yanks survived despite temporarily losing Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, and Aaron Hicks. Now they’re waiting patiently (sorta) for Giancarlo Stanton to return. Stanton has only played nine games this season and they’ve done well without him, but would this DH’s return be a sort of x-factor for the team? Or will it be awkward fitting him back in the mix?
To make things even more interesting, New York just acquired Edwin Encarnacion from the Seattle Mariners in attempt to get another big bat into the lineup. Encarnacion leads the American League with 21 home runs this season, and now he’ll jump into 7th in the Yankees batting lineup.
Meanwhile, DJ LeMahieu, who bats first for the Yankees, is an MLB All Star and MVP candidate. The first baseman leads the league in batting averages at .336. Gary Sanchez is also much better this season than last, with 24 homers so far. Big man Aaron Judge has been limited due to injuries, but he’s still got nine homers and 20 RBIs in a mere 33 games this season.
Sure, anything could happen – it is still baseball, after all – but the Yankees are on pace to win 105 games as we head into the second half of the season. Just sayin’. It’s going to take a lot to stop them. Especially if they can fill those gaps in the bullpen.
After taking on the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game series this weekend, the Yankees are looking to handle division opponents the Tampa Bay Rays in a four-game series beginning tonight in the Bronx. These are some important games for the AL East in the race toward the postseason. Will you be watching?
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