I wanted the Yankees to go 4-3 against the Rays and Rockies, but would have settled for 3-4, since as long as they keep playing near .500 baseball, the division is over. The Yankees went even better, going 5-2 and creating even more separation in the standings between them and the Rays and Red Sox.
This week’s questions and comments are focused on the division, Domingo German’s innings limit, the starting pitching market at the trade deadline and whether or not the Yankees will do whatever it takes to win a championship this season.
A wise man once said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.” We need a quality starting pitcher before the well runs dry. – Bill
That wise man must not have been good at math. The division is over. It’s been over. I said it was over before the London games and then the Yankees swept the weekend. I said it was over before the four games against Tampa at the Stadium last week and then the Yankees took three out of four.
The Yankees are 64-34 and have 64 games left. If they go 32-32 and play .500 for the rest of the season, they will finish at 96-66. The Rays would have to go 39-21 and the Red Sox would have to go 42-20 to tie them. But the Yankees aren’t going to play .500 baseball for more than two months, not when they still have 23 games left against the Orioles, Blue Jays, Mariners and Tigers.
You can put the Yankees in the postseason as the AL East champions and you can do so with permanent marker. The rest of the season is about clinching home-field advantage.
We need Domingo German for the future. Please don’t burn him out. – Robert
Domingo German has been the team’s best starting pitcher all season. Masahiro Tanaka would still get the ball in Game 1 of the ALDS, but if the playoffs started today, it would be hard not to give German the ball for Game 2. Unfortunately, the playoffs don’t start today, and by the time they do start, German might not be pitching at all.
At some point, the Yankees are going to figure out a way to limit German’s innings. That might be by skipping his starts, pulling him after four or five innings, sending him to the bullpen or shutting him down completely. The Yankees believe they have to keep German’s innings total to some unspecified number, even though they have proven they have no idea how to handle young pitchers and prevent injuries. Aside from Andy Pettitte, the Yankees have been unsuccessful in developing a young pitcher who can avoid injury, so I wish they would stop thinking they are going to find the answer.
If the Yankees allow German to pitch uninterrupted for the remainder of the season and they win the World Series and he never pitches again, he did his job. His job is to pitch for the New York Yankees. The Yankees’ job is to win the World Series. The goal isn’t to grow careers. The goal is to win. Sadly, the Yankees’ effort to achieve this goal for the last decade hasn’t been what it once was.
Boone continually bats four or five right-handed bats in a row. Any power right-handed pitcher will destroy them in the playoffs. – Russ
Aaron Boone bats four and five right-handed bats in a row because that’s what the Yankees have: right-handed bats. The only left-handed bats are Didi Gregorius and the switch-hitting Aaron Hicks and neither of them belongs in the top half of the lineup. Though I’m sure Hicks’s big weekend against the crappy Rockies pitching will keep him near the top of the order for a while now to do exactly what Russ is pointing out in breaking up the order with a left-handed bat.
There is a good chance the Yankees are shut down by Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole in the playoffs because they are both power right-handers and the Yankees’ entire lineup is essentially right-handed. The Yankees are going to need some timely home runs if they want to win it all, but that holds true for every team in the postseason every year.
If the entire team was available right now, this is the batting order I would want for Game 1 of the ALDS, whether the starting pitcher is right-handed or left-handed:
DJ LeMahieu, 3B
Aaron Judge, RF
Luke Voit, 1B
Gary Sanchez, C
Giancarlo Stanton, LF
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Gleyber Torres, 2B
Didi Gregorius, SS
Aaron Hicks, CF
That lineup will never ever happen, but it should.
The Yankees definitely need at least one starter, maybe two. – John
The Yankees can’t sit idle at the trade deadline and think Luis Severino is going to come back. It would be awesome if he did, but the season is too far along that if he sustains one more setback, his season is over. The Yankees have to plan as if he isn’t going to come back, and if he does, then they have themselves another front-end starter.
I have written and preached about the Yankees trading for Madison Bumgarner. To me, he’s the guy they should go after. They don’t need a controllable starter over the next few years, they need to win the World Series now, while they’re the best team in baseball. The division is over so they don’t need Bumgarner to help them win it, they need him to win Game 2 or 3 of the ALDS and then pitch well in the ALCS and World Series.
Bumgarner is the guy. The Yankees need to forget about 2020 and 2021 and worry about 2019, or they will still be trying to win their first World Series since 2009 in 2020 and 2021.
Will Brian Cashman’s track record of holding on to prospects cost the Yankees again in 2019? – Mark
It could and I’m scared it will. The Yankees haven’t gotten “the guy” over the last near decade because they have overvalued their own prospects and many of them became nothing. That hasn’t been the only problem though, as the Yankees have also avoided taking on salary or increasing payroll at the trade deadline. The combination of the two has led to them losing out on players and pitchers would might have put them over the top in the postseason.
The Yankees could win the World Series as currently constructed, but it’s hard to say they would be a true favorite. Right now, they are just part of the pack and another team in the field. They have an opportunity here to enhance their rotation, obtain home-field advantage throughout the entire postseason and put themselves in the best possible position to win a championship for the first time in going on 10 years. If they aren’t willing to do whatever it takes to win now, when will they?
My book The Next Yankees Era: My Transition from the Core Four to the Baby Bombers is now available as an ebook!