The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
Who are the real New York Yankees?

Through the end of June, the Yankees had been practically unbeatable with a 58-21 record. In July, they leveled off (13-13 record), but there wasn’t too much of a cause for alarm then. They were still 12 games ahead of the next team in the AL East. However, from August 1 through August 27, the Yankees have been playing like the lowly Washington Nationals, with a 9-15 record. It begs the question, “Who are the real Yankees?”

A few weeks ago in my blog email, I posed the question, “Are the Yankees swooning?” That question was relevant then and is even more relevant now, with 35 games remaining.

Have we been seeing the real Yankees for the past two months? Or is this just a temporary setback.

Injuries have taken its toll on the team and I tend to think that’s been the main contributor to their drop-off in performance.

Giancarlo Stanton, who had 24 homers and 61 RBIs, went out on July 23 with left Achilles tendonitis. Matt Carpenter, a free agent signee on May 26 who was surpassing all expectations with a slash line of .305/.412/.727 and 15 homers, went out on August 8 with a left foot fracture. The Yankees have missed their bats. Outfielder Harrison Bader, whom the Yankees acquired from the Cardinals at the trade deadline, has yet to play due to left Achilles tendonitis.

Part of the Yankees’ success story prior to July was that the team’s bullpen had performed well, even though it had taken a hit with injuries. Albert Abreu missed the month of May, and Chad Green was lost for the remainder of the season on May 19, while Aroldis Chapman missed the month of June, and Jonathan Loaisiga missed the month of June and half of July. Their replacements had adequately filled the gaps caused by injuries.

Abreu, Chapman, and Loaisiga came back to the active roster in June and July. But there’s been another revolving door with the pitching staff in July and August.

The bullpen took further hits with the loss of relievers, including Michael King who was lost to a season-ending arm surgery on July 23, Clay Holmes (their best reliever who has been out since August 12), Miguel Castro (out since July 10), and Clarke Schmidt (only three appearances during those two months). Abreu went back on the injured list on August 21 with right elbow inflammation, while Chapman is back on the 15-day IL.

Starter Luis Severino has been out since July 13, but he was effectively replaced by Domingo German, who pitched for first time during 2022 on July 21.

Overwhelmed in following all the changes in the Yankees’ pitching staff? Aaron Boone must have been pulling his hair out dealing with the situations.

The Yankees’ front office apparently was worried about their pitching situation, so they acquired starter Frankie Montas and relievers Scott Effross and Lou Trivino at the trade deadline. But they gave up the steady Jordan Montgomery in the process. Montas, Montgomery’s replacement in the starting rotation, has had only one quality start in four appearances. He has yet to demonstrate why the Yankees sought him out. Effross went on the injured list on August 20, after eight relief appearances.

Injuries aside, the main storyline for the Yankees this season has been slugger Aaron Judge, who is on a pace to hit 60 home runs and is making a strong case for AL MVP. He’s been the one constant for the Yankees throughout the year. Besides Stanton and Carpenter, before their injuries, Judge has gotten offensive help from Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres, and super-utility player DJ LeMahieu.. Third baseman Josh Donaldson has been an offensive disappointment like Joey Gallo, who the Yankees thankfully dealt to the Dodgers at the trade deadline.

The Yankees still rank first or second in most of the team batting and pitching stats in the American League. Despite their sluggish (“swooning”) months July and August, one of the main reasons they still have a comfortable lead in the AL East is that they are 35-23 against division opponents.

The projected roster for September is encouraging, which is why I think the Yankees will get back on track before the post-season.

Stanton returned late last week. Carpenter’s foot didn’t require surgery, and he will return in late September. Bader is targeting the first week of September to return. Newly acquired outfielder Andrew Benintendi hasn’t yet hit like he did with the Royals, but he’s an improvement over Gallo.

Reliever Zach Britton, who has yet to pitch this season because he has been recovering from Tommy John surgery last September, is now throwing in re-hab assignments. Holmes will be activated after he finishes his time on the injured list on August 29 and return to the closer role. Severino is on a re-hab pace to get four or five starts during the balance of the regular-season schedule, and eventually join Gerrit Cole, Jamison Taillon, German, and Montas in the rotation. Wandy Peralta, Lucas Luetge, and Ron Marinaccio have been solid middle relievers, while Trevino has proven to be a solid addition in the bullpen.

Beginning in September, the Yankees have 18 remaining games against their tough division opponents. If they can win 60% of those games (as they have to date), they should continue to maintain their division lead.

Injuries are the bane of every team. Always has been. Always will be. Yes, they had several hiccups in July and August. At this point, it appears the Yankees have a path to get beyond their health issues and return to their winning ways.

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