Have the Yankees Finally Broken Out of Their Prolonged Slump?
By Derek McAdam
September 13, 2022
The Yankees are winding down their 2022 regular season, with only 21 games left to play. The team currently sits at 85-56 and several games ahead of Tampa Bay and Toronto in the loss column. For the first time in a while, the Yankees had a nice homestand, going 5-2 by taking three out of four from the Twins, including a doubleheader sweep, while also taking two of three from Tampa Bay. While the Yankees are finished playing Tampa Bay, they still have plenty of AL East games remaining that are must wins.
New York still has six games left with Boston, three with Toronto and three with Baltimore. While Boston is mostly out of the race and Baltimore’s chances are fading away, these are still crucial games that the Yankees have to win. Toronto has only two games remaining on its schedule that is not an AL East opponent and they still have eight games remaining against Tampa Bay. New York cannot focus too much on what other teams are doing, but only on what the Yankees can do.
The big question is if the Yankees have finally gotten past the post-All-Star Break slide they went through. While it seems as if they have been able to turn the page, it is still too early to tell. Here are several reasons why I’m not yet 100% convinced.
First, there are still many players out with injuries, which may impact the lineup when they ultimately return. Anthony Rizzo seems close to returning, while DJ LeMahieu is also going to be a question mark as to when he returns and if he can make a positive impact. Another key mentioning is how Harrison Bader fits into the lineup, as he is set to make his Yankee debut in about a week. There is no doubt the team will get much better defensively, but which player will not make the cut? Will it be Oswaldo Cabrera, Miguel Andujar, or someone else? It all remains to be seen.
The bullpen is having the same problem, as Aroldis Chapman and Scott Effross are likely to be returning to the bullpen soon. Who doesn’t make the cut after that? It seems as if the likely candidates to be sent down are Ryan Weber and Greg Weissert, who I must say has a couple of filthy pitches, including an Adam Ottavino-like slider.
Second, the offense has managed to play better as of late, but it’s still concerning on how reliant the team is on home runs. Saturday’s first inning was great to see, but it seems to be an outlier. Sunday’s game was a nice win for the Yankees, but the team scored only one of its ten runs without the home run. That’s where they can prove me wrong with the two-game series in Boston, and I absolutely hope they can.
There have been some positives that came out of the homestand. First, the pitching was very good, not allowing more than four runs in any game. Not only that, but the starters have been able to give the Yankees length (Cortes is not included since it was his first game back from the IL), which allowed Aaron Boone to use Sunday as a bullpen day.
While I just got on the offense for being too home run-reliant, it is good to see that they can generate offense somehow. After all, this was a problem that persisted for a while when they couldn’t score many runs.
More than anything, the Yankees have a very important stretch of games coming up. They cannot let any of these games get away from them, especially the head-to-head matchups with Toronto, which may ultimately be the most important games the team plays all season (besides the playoffs). But these two games in Boston may show the Yankee fanbase if the team is truly back or if there are still some potholes that need to be fixed.
Nonetheless, the next three weeks for the Yankees should be fun to watch, especially if they are able to gather ground in the AL East with a few wins.