New York Yankees: Should They be Worried About Sluggish Start?
Coming into this season the New York Yankees were seen as one of the favorites to not only make it to the World Series but win it. However, they have not looked like a World Series team early on this season. Even though the team hasn’t played up to expectations so far, the Yankees and their fans shouldn’t be ready to jump ship.
The biggest reason for New York’s subpar start is easily the plethora of injuries the team has sustained. Coming out of spring training the Yanks knew they would be down some men already.
Aaron Hicks, who the Yankees signed to a 10yr/$70M contract, is out with back issues.
Luis Severino, the team ace, felt discomfort during a start during spring training and is out with a shoulder strain. New York does not expect him back anytime soon.
Of course, there’s the plantar fasciitis that Jacoby Ellsbury has been dealing with. And veteran C.C. Sabathia, although not injured, was serving a suspension. So off the bat, they were down some key guys before they could even start playing. Didi especially is a huge loss not only on the field but in the clubhouse as a leader.
Now there are the injuries that have plagued the Yankees during the first month of the season. Troy Tulowitzki, a veteran brought in to replace the injured Gregorius, went down with a calf injury a week into the season. Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar went down within the same week with Stanton injuring his bicep and Andujar hurting his shoulder on a slide back to third base. Dellin Betances was just diagnosed with a shoulder injury and won’t be back for another few weeks. Greg Bird went down with a foot injury last week. Therefore, the Yankees expect him to be out 4-6 weeks. Gary Sanchez is on the IL with a calf injury but expected back soon. However, just recently the Yankees suffered a huge blow. Their star outfielder Aaron Judge left Saturday’s game with what the team is saying is a significant quad injury.
On field Play
Injuries aside, the Yankees have not played well as a collective. In terms of biggest on-field problems the pitching, more specifically the bullpen has been nothing short of awful. Although ERA wise the Yankees bullpen ranks in the top 10 in the league they have been incredibly inconsistent. There have been a plethora of games the Yankees have lost this season where the bullpen has blown the lead late.
One series in particular that stands out is the Yankees series against the Astros earlier this year. The Yankees got swept but had the lead in every game after the starter had left the game. Chad Green has been abysmal so far on the year. At this point, he is the team’s worst reliever with a 12.27 ERA. He’s given up the 2nd most runs on the team (10) in only 7.1 innings.
The starting pitching has been pretty good outside of J.A. Happ who has struggled mightily. It’s actually been a complete 180 from last season. Happ was a key contributor to the rotation after the Toronto Blue Jays traded him.
Hitting has also been a problem for the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers have not been doing many bombings this season. Of their 10 losses, the Yankees have scored 3 or fewer runs in 7 of them. The Yankees philosophy of winning by the home run has not been very successful for the most part this year. But that is partly due to the number of injuries on the team. Losing hitters such as Stanton, Andujar, Gregorius and Hicks really hurt in terms of firepower present in the offense. Up until this weekend Judge and Sanchez were the team’s weapons but both are now on the IL. There isn’t much situational hitting done by this team which makes it that much harder to produce runs.
All’s Not Lost
Although the team isn’t where everyone expected them to be there is still hope for the season. Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays have started off strong but they should cool off as the season goes on. The guys the Yankees have called up to replace the injured starters have been doing their part to help keep the ship afloat. Guys such as Mike Tauchman, Gio Urshela, Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier have all done their part to contribute. Frazier specifically has been doing more than his fair share in his replacement role. He’s hitting .339 with 6 HRs and 17 RBIs. His fielding has also been just about superb out in left field.
The New York Yankees currently sit at 11-10 and are currently on a 3 game winning streak. Guys should be returning to the lineup soon. If the Yankees can keep treading water until the team is healthy, come July/August, they’ll be in prime shape to start their title run.
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