With just three weeks left in the shortened 2020 Major League Baseball season, the New York Yankees are far from sitting pretty.
With their record being 21-21, if the playoffs started today, the Yanks would be set to play the number one-seed Tampa Bay Rays. After New York dropped a four game series to the Baltimore Orioles, it is scary to think how a series with the Rays would go.
It’s clear to say the Yankees have been struggling. Ending the 19-game win streak against the O’s was unfortunate, and losing the series 3-1 raises major concerns about the team.
Injuries are the Yankees’ kryptonite for the third straight season. With key players Aaron Judge (calf) and Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) out of the lineup, the production on offense has noticeably declined. The list does not stop there.
The ten day injured list (IL) also includes players such as: Gio Urshela (elbow), Jonathan Loáisiga (undisclosed), and James Paxton (forearm).
D.J. LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres returned for action during this last series vs. the Orioles. It’s great to have them back, but with manager Aaron Boone taking them out of the lineup for “break days,” who knows how healthy they really are.
Pitching has been another weak spot for the Yankees. While Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka are holding down the rotation, Jordan Montgomery and J.A. Happ have been subpar with earned run averages (ERAs) of 5.72 and 4.31 respectively. However, the team has seen some promise from Yankee prospect Deivi García, who start two games thus far, sporting a 3.38 ERA with 12 strikeouts.
The Yankees have also just recently called up another top prospect pitcher in Clarke Schmidt, though his major league debut was a bit of a let down. Boone decided to throw Schmidt in relief when the game was on the line. He let up three straight hits, allowing two runs to score. Not the typical big league debut for a pitcher, but welcome to the show Schmidt.
The bullpen has also been an absolute mess. Chad Green, Jonathan Holder, Luis Cessa and Adam Ottavino have all been decent. But it’s the long relief guys such as Michael King and Nick Nelson that are digging the team into some deep holes.
King and Nelson have let up a combined 25 runs in 32 innings pitched. Better performances by the two of them could have definitely added a few wins to the Yankees current record.
Having to play a great amount of games in a little time span is taking its toll on the Bombers. Saving their key bullpen arms at the cost of less efficient guys coming in and letting up runs is frustrating, but with this shortened season, it’s what has to happen.
As stated before, with Judge and Stanton still sidelined, the offense is not the same without them. They will most likely return before the end of the season, but the ability to remain healthy is a huge concern for both of them.
Clint Frazier and Luke Voit have been the main source of hits and run production lately. A guy who has been hurting the team more than helping is catcher Gary Sánchez.
“I just feel like this is the way I need to go right now,” Boone told the media on Sunday. “Hopefully a day off or two, or however I decide to do it here, can help get him going because all of us can get around him and help him get to what we know he can be.”
The Yankees must turn it around. These last 20 games are all must-wins. The Yanks are not locked into the playoffs and with other teams around the American League heating up, the competition will be at a very high level for the coming weeks.
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