Yankees Playoff Push: Strengths and Weaknesses

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SPANISH HARLEM, NY – The New York Yankees are making their case for the division but the Boston Red Sox seem just as focused at keeping the top spot. With 12 games left to play the Baby Bombers have all but clinched the Wild Card by sweeping the team behind them in the standings, the Minnesota Twins. Today I will discuss the strength and weaknesses of the Yankees that can potentially make or break this season going into the playoffs.

Strengths:

Rotation – The Pitching Staff that many thought would be a weakness has become so important during this stretch run. Luis Severino has developed into the Ace the organization had hoped he would become. Masahiro Tanaka seems to be over his early season funk and has been a better pitcher in the second half of the season. C.C. Sabathia has shown that he still has much left in the tank and is arguably the pitcher you want on mound after a lost. Jordan Montgomery has proved he deserves to be a Major League starter but is likely the odd man out if they make it to the division series. Finally, you have Sonny Gray, who has pitched as well as you can expect and could be the 2nd, 3rd or 4th starter depending on how you want to match up. What was once a weakness, could be strength going into the playoffs.

Power – The Yankees have a lineup full of young players that can straight up mash the ball at any given moment. With Gary Sanchez, this team may have the best offensive catcher in the game and he’s only in year 2. Aaron Judge is starting to resemble the guy we all know and love, after all his struggles post All-Star break. That won’t be good for opposing pitchers since Judge doesn’t have to square-up the ball to hit it out of the park. Starlin Castro can get as hot as any player on this team and sprays the ball to all fields with power. Didi Gregorius might be the best overall hitter in the group and seems to come up big when he is needed the most. You have a veteran in Matt Holliday, who is well respected and knows what needs to be done to win in October. The Yankees are second in the American League in run differential and for good reason because this lineup can score in bunches.

BullpenJoe Girardi has used his bullpen early and often because he is treating every game now like it’s a playoff game. Between Tommy Kahlne, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, this team has guys that can come in and diffuse any situation with strikeouts. David Robertson has been a great pick up, someone who can come in and pitch in any inning. Chad Green has been the most surprising pitcher in the pen this season, looking almost unhittable at times. For this team to make it far in the playoffs the bullpen will play a huge role especially when you consider how much Girardi has relied on them through out the year.

Weaknesses:

Runners in Scoring Position – The Yankees have lost a lot of games this year because they have failed to move runners over or get productive outs. This season they lead the league in 1-run losses and that can be frustrating when you think about how good this offense can be. What makes matters worse is that you face the best pitchers in the playoffs which lead to close/tight games where one run can mean the difference between winning and losing. Girardi will have to make some difficult decisions, whether it means stealing more bases, bunting, or using the hit-and-run, when and if the opportunity arises.

Bullpen – How can something be strength and a weakness? When the guys in the bullpen don’t throw strikes. It’s great to have players that throw 99 mph but how good will that be if the opposing players don’t have to swing. There were times this season when the bullpen was lights-out but also times when they couldn’t get the out they needed to win. Betances can be the best relief pitcher in the game on most nights but he can also lose command in a heartbeat. Chapman seems to be back on tracked after hitting a wall mid-season and that’s good news for the Yankees. The most consistent pitcher in the pen the last couple of weeks has been Robertson and Girardi would be wise to use him the way the Indians used Andrew Miller during their playoff run last year. The manager believes in this group and hopefully they will repay him with great results because his job might depend on it.

All of this is contingent on the Yankees winning their wild card playoff game, which isn’t guaranteed.

That’s It! Come back to tomorrow for a new article. Also, feel free to comment below and please follow us on Twitter @BuddyDiaz19, @MeetTheMatts & @Matt_McCarthy00Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook pages, Meet The Matts & Buddy Diaz.

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