Yankees keep winning ways going despite myriad of injuries
After dealing with 13 players being placed on the injured list, the current 25-man roster of the New York Yankees has surprisingly turned the team’s season around. After losing two out of three games to the Chicago White Sox at home, the team stood at a measly 6-9 on the season.
However, before the White Sox series, the Yankees’ injuries continued to pile up.
Starting catcher Gary Sanchez and third basemen Miguel Andújar were added to the IL, to join names like Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Luis Severino and Dellin Betances.
The IL squad was, on paper, much more impressive than the active team.
To go along with the great number of injuries, the bullpen was struggling.
At the start of the season, there was one piece of this team that was undoubtedly the strongest asset of the Yankees: the bullpen. It seems that the injury to Betances has had a bigger effect than it was thought to be.
The series against the Houston Astros showed concerns over the bullpen.
In two of the three games, the Yankees had the lead after the sixth inning and in both, the bullpen blew the lead and led to two losses. It was thought that with the star-studded backend, any lead would be safe.
Recently , things have gotten better, but two names stand out — Jonathan Holder and Chad Green.
Holder was great as a fifth or sixth inning man for the Yankees in 2018.
He pitched to a 3.14 ERA in 66 innings. In his 2019 campaign thus far, in 14.1 innings, he has a 5.02 ERA.
Last season, he had the ability to consistently throw his sharp curveball for a strike but has had issues making that pitch this year. He has not been able to consistently control that important pitch.
On the other hand, Chad Green has been nearly brutal to watch pitch. After a spectacular 2017 and 2018 seasons, there were clearly nothing but high hopes going into this season.
It was tough to figure out what Green’s role would be this season with Adam Ottavino added and Tommy Kahnle pitching well once again. It has been easy for the Yankees to figure out Green’s role, since he has been struggling heavily.
In just 7.2 innings, Green has given up 14 earned runs, skyrocketing his ERA to 16.43.
In his past seasons, he has relied on being able to beat hitters with his fastball.
Its velocity usually sits in the 93-95 mph range and at times, hitters had said that his fastball “jumps at them” and is perceived to be faster than it actually is.
This year has been different. He has only averaged about 92 mph on his fastball and has not had its last-second life.
Because of his struggles, the Yankees sent him down to their Triple-A affiliate, hoping he could figure his issues out.
Moving on from their woes, the Yankees have been one of the more impressive teams in the past couple weeks with their recent performances. After losing two of three to the White Sox, they won 11 of their next 13 games.
It started with a two-game series with their rival Boston Red Sox, where the Yanks won by a rout of 8-0, followed by a go-ahead grand slam by Brett Gardner in the second game to complete the sweep.
They then moved onto a four-game series against the visiting Kansas City Royals, where they took three out of four.
The first game loss made fans think that the rocky start to the season would continue, but the Yankees went on to win the remaining three games, then win the first three games of their next series against the Los Angeles Angels.
The highlight of the Royals series was the fourth and final game.
After leading for the entirety of the game 5-0, the Royals scored six runs in the eighth inning to take the lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, after a leadoff double by Mike Tauchman and two outs made, Austin Romine tied the game with a single.
The two teams went scoreless in the ninth inning and in the bottom of the 10th, Romine came back up to the plate with runners on second and third base. He sent a ball over the centerfielder’s head to plate the winning run.
The walk-off win over the Royals gave the Yankees a winning record on the season, putting them at 11-10, and has given life to the young and inexperienced team.
The recent stretch they have been on has been special and unpredictable. The started their west coast trip winning three out of four against the Angels, then going to San Francisco to face off against the Giants, who they swept in three games.
Of course, the aforementioned teams - the Royals, Angels and Giants - are not the best teams.
In fact, they are some of the worst teams in the league, but with the current lineup that has trotted out on the field every night for the Yankees, it would not have been shocking if they lost nearly every game.
The key to this stretch has been their starting pitching.
Six Yankees pitchers have made starts for the team this year and cumulative they have thrown to a 3.51 ERA.
This would come as a surprise to many after the Yankees are missing their ace Severino due to what seems to be shoulder issues.
In his absence, James Paxton has stepped up.
He has a 3-2 record on the year, with the two losses coming early in the season to the Baltimore Orioles and Astros and the three wins coming in his last three starts.
In two of those wins, he was nearly untouchable. Paxton had back-to-back games of 12 strikeouts.
The first start against the Red Sox, he went eight scoreless innings with only two hits, one walk and those previously mentioned 12 strikeouts.
His next start against the Royals was as impressive. He went just six innings, had 12 strikeouts, three hits and one walk.
He has answered the question of if he could pitch in the Bronx so far with his dominant performances.
This current Yankees team is playing with very little expectations, as they are viewed as underdogs with the 13 injuries that they have.
They have been able to play carefree and are having fun.
Their lineup has been producing and is led by names like Giovanny Urshela, Clint Frazier, DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit. No one would ever imagine that in the absence of Andújar, Urshela would fill in by hitting .351 in his 65 plate appearances on the season.
This team is fun to watch and as players slowly come off the injured list, they will only get even better and many teams in the league will have to watch out for the New York Yankees.