Are the New York Yankees for actual?
The Bronx Bombers rode an 11-game profitable streak into this present collection with the Oakland A’s, considered one of their chief rivals for an American League wild-card spot. It was their longest profitable streak since 1985, and, alongside the best way, they’d swept a collection with the Purple Sox to move Boston within the AL East and grasp the wild-card lead.
They finally prolonged that profitable streak to 13 — their greatest since 1961 — earlier than it was snapped by the A’s on Saturday. Nonetheless, the Yankees have been arguably the AL’s greatest workforce within the second half.
Will this high-caliber play proceed down the stretch, or will we see extra of the inconsistent membership we witnessed within the first half? We posed this query to ESPN baseball specialists Joon Lee and David Schoenfield, and requested for his or her ideas on how far the Yankees finally will go this season.
It has been an up-and-down experience to date within the Bronx. Give us one motive to imagine the red-hot, second-half model of the Yankees is the true Yankees — and one motive it is a mirage.
Lee: Everyone seems to be getting wholesome and so they’re beginning to really feel the affect of the complete roster. A very powerful factor GM Brian Cashman did on the commerce deadline was reestablish the Yankees’ depth. Because the Los Angeles Angels present with Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, you may’t win in baseball with a top-heavy roster. The Yankees got here into the season as a workforce with each depth and star energy, however it appeared as if the 2 might by no means align for fulfillment. For the time being, they’re.
Alternatively, it feels just like the Purple Sox and Yankees had their seasons flip. Boston overachieved within the first half, whereas the Yankees struggled. Since then, it has been the alternative, and the groups have swapped locations within the standings. However one thing the first-place Tampa Bay Rays have not been all season is inconsistent, whereas New York has proven it has two extremes that might seem on any given day. Regardless of the Yankees’ second-half success to date, we do not know which workforce will present up when October comes round.
Schoenfield: Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo not solely supplied two much-needed left-handed bats to the lineup, however they added some much-needed swagger as effectively. The Yankees appeared to be drowning of their mediocrity and degree of expectations. By July 29, coinciding with Rizzo’s first sport on July 30, they had been hitting .235/.323/.394. In 28 video games since, the Yankees have gone 23-5 and hit .249/.337/.436.
The pitching has additionally improved. On July 29, they misplaced 14-0 to the Rays — in a sport Gerrit Cole began. It was arguably the low level of the season. They’ve posted a 2.77 ERA in that 23-5 stretch and opponents have scored 3.18 runs per sport. They did a lot of that with out Cole, who missed two weeks whereas on the COVID IL.
So, hitting and pitching — two causes this surge will not be a mirage. If you would like a motive to be skeptical, the bullpen is 12-2 with a 2.09 ERA over the 28-game stretch, all whereas averaging almost 4 innings per sport. Can it preserve that up over the heavy workload?
Who shall be a very powerful Yankee down the stretch?
Lee: The return of beginning pitchers Corey Kluber and Luis Severino might go a good distance in shaping up the Yankees for a robust run within the postseason, however third baseman Gio Urshela may very well be a game-changer, too. Urshela has simply come again after lacking almost a month with a hamstring damage, and he has been such an essential participant for the Bronx Bombers over the previous two seasons. Urshela hasn’t been fairly pretty much as good in 2021, putting out at a better clip than in 2019 and 2020, but when he is capable of hit extra just like the Urshela of outdated, the Yankees’ lineup will look much more formidable down the stretch.
Schoenfield: I simply talked about the bullpen, however Aroldis Chapman continues to be a priority within the ninth. Aaron Boone needed to pull him out of two current save possibilities, with Lucas Luetge and Wandy Peralta having to return on for the ultimate out. If Chapman cannot be trusted, then Boone should save Chad Inexperienced or Jonathan Loaisiga for the ninth inning, which impacts every thing else main into the ninth. The perfect Yankees workforce options Chapman locking down the ninth, and so they’ve been good regardless of a shaky Chapman, however that is not a recipe for fulfillment in October.
How far will the Yankees go this season?
Lee: They’re going to make it to the playoffs as a wild card, however I do not suppose they’ve the consistency to make it to the World Sequence.
Schoenfield: The lineup has been higher, however does it examine with Houston’s or Tampa Bay’s or Chicago’s? I am not but satisfied. Rizzo and Gallo do present left-handed steadiness, however I nonetheless really feel this can be a lineup you may match up towards in a postseason collection — usher in a lefty to face the Rizzo/Aaron Choose/Gallo a part of the lineup after which a right-hander to mow down the underside of the order. Nonetheless, they’ve a legit ace in Cole and the White Sox have seemed extra weak of late. To me, Houston is the workforce to beat — and the Yankees may meet the Astros within the division collection.
If the Yankees miss the playoffs, or exit early, what would it not imply for supervisor Aaron Boone? And the way may it have an effect on the workforce’s offseason plan?
Lee: I feel a part of this is able to be depending on precisely how the Yankees exit. Boone actually must take a number of the blame for a way this workforce carried out early, however he additionally deserves credit score for serving to flip issues round. Past Boone, I am curious to see how the Yankees method Gleyber Torres’ future, given his struggles this season — particularly with a marquee shortstop like Trevor Story accessible as a free agent.
Schoenfield: Boone is within the ultimate yr of his contract and there was little public dialogue of an extension, so it does really feel just like the Yankees should at the very least make the postseason for him to maintain his job, particularly in a season during which they had been the AL favorites for the World Sequence — the place the Yankees have not been since 2009. I do not suppose a wild card is sufficient, nevertheless, after disappointing losses within the ALDS to the Purple Sox in 2018, to the Astros within the 2019 ALCS, and to the Rays within the 2020 ALDS. Boone may need to win the AL to be again in pinstripes in 2022.
As for the offseason, we’ll should see how the brand new CBA performs out and the way keen the Yankees shall be to blow previous the luxurious tax (if there may be one) after staying beneath it this yr. I am with Joon: They’re going to have a brand new shortstop subsequent season, with the difficulty whether or not Torres slides over to second base or is traded for some prospects/pitching assist. They should grow to be a bit of extra athletic (Gallo helps in that regard) and a great two-way participant like Story is an efficient match, together with his energy, protection and baserunning. Aaron Hicks continues to be beneath contract, however a brand new middle fielder could be so as as effectively.