There’s still plenty of positives during this slide by the Yankees
The New York Yankees dropped another series to an inferior team, dropping two of three to the lowly Toronto Blue Jays. Luckily, the Bombers were bailed out by the Tampa Bay Rays, who have been playing great baseball and who defeated the Oakland A’s on Sunday 5-4.
The good news? The Yankees still have time to turn things around, AND they still have a few things going for them heading into the postseason. It may not be pretty but there are a few aspects of this team that make the Yankees dangerous if they make it through the Wild Card game. Let’s focus on some positives as the season winds down.
They’re trending upwards
The bar was set exceptionally high after last season’s surprise run to Game 7 of the ALCS. With zero expectations the Yankees shocked everyone by making it to within one game of the World Series.
This season? It’s pretty much championship or bust at this point. Aaron Boone may get a lot of flak, some of it well deserved, but the Yankees are 30+ games over .500. They’ll have a better record this season than last season, and their trajectory is still shooting upwards.
Regardless of how most feel, this team is very good and will be for a very long time. As followers we find ourselves criticizing the team for its shortcomings when in reality baseball is an extremely long season and if they have serious shortcomings they would not have 91 wins already.
Contributions from rookies and surprises
Along with that growth and unrealistically expectations comes with the fact that the Yankees are loaded for the near and perhaps distant future. Miguel Andujar was a myth before he stepped onto the field during the regular season, and the future ROY has delivered from Spring Training on.
Gleyber Torres has cooled off a bit since the beginning of the season, but he’s also a future superstar. He may have a higher ceiling than Andujar due to his superior defense. Regardless of who will be better, there’s no denying who will run the infield for the next decade.
Some other surprises have come along during the season that make Yankee fans hopeful. Luke Voit has become the favorite to land with the Yankees as the new every day first baseman next season. J.A. Happ can be the new C.C. Sabathia of this young club; The calming veteran presence that pitches well and teaches the young kids. And underratedly, Jonathan Loaisiga and Justus Sheffield can become the new stud pitching prospects if they stay healthy. Both have nasty stuff.
Masahiro Tanaka can be an ace
At the beginning of the season the Yankees leaned on Luis Severino to be their ace, and through the majority of the season he was as reliable as they come. Like most pitchers, Severino has hit a rough patch and has pitched absolutely horrible since the All-Star break.
Luckily for the Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka has stepped up to become the ace of the second half. Since the All-Star break he is 5-3 with a 2.09 ERA and a complete game shutout. He always has had the stuff to be the ace, but his propensity to give up home runs is alarming.
When Tanaka is on, he’s practically unhittable. Having Tanaka start the Wild Card game and bringing that momentum through the playoffs means the Yankees can rely on a myriad of pitchers to get them through. Having Tanaka right is key if the Yankees are going to make a deep run.
As said before, the Yankees are not a perfect baseball team. They have plenty of flaws and need to learn how to beat bad teams. However, you can’t be upset with the effort this team has put forth so far this season. Next stop, World Series?
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