The 2021 NY Yankees have now completed the first 10 games of their season and some things are now being learned about this team. There is obviously still a very long way to go, and of course, things will change as the season plays out, but let’s take a look at where the team currently stands.
2021 NY Yankees: 10 Game Recap
The 2021 NY Yankees sit at an even five wins and five losses after this first ten-game stretch. The important thing to remember is that ten games only account for about six percent of the season, so there is no need to over-hype the positives or panic about the negatives at this early stage. That being said, let’s take a look at ten things to know about the 2021 NY Yankees so far.
1. Division Trends
Interestingly, all of the ten games so far have been against teams in the division. The 2021 NY Yankees have split evenly in four games with the Blue Jays, won two out of three against the Orioles, and surrendered two out of three to the Rays. So far it seems like the same trends from the last few years have continued against their divisional opponents. As usual, they have struggled with the Rays and beat up on the Orioles while playing competitively with the Jays. Their first game with their final divisional opponent, the Red Sox, isn’t until June.
2. Hot Cole
Through three starts this season, Gerrit Cole has been spectacular. In 18.1 innings he has pitched to a 1.47 ERA and 0.82 WHIP with 29 strikeouts. He is the clear ace of this pitching staff and the 2021 NY Yankees should be favored to win every game that he is on the mound. He is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball and is the early favorite to win the AL Cy Young. He has a history of being an absolute workhorse so expect to see him starting every fifth day.
3. An Encouraging Debut
In his very first start for the 2021 NY Yankees, Jameson Taillon showed a glimpse of why he was acquired by the team this past offseason with high expectations. He allowed three hits and two earned runs over 4.2 innings while striking out seven and walking zero. There is no doubt that Taillon is a talented pitcher, the only concern is whether or not he can stay healthy.
4. Kluber Struggles
In addition to Taillon, the other starting pitcher acquired by the 2021 NY Yankees this past offseason as a rotational piece was the two-time AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber. In two starts, he has only completed 6.1 innings while allowing ten hits, five walks, and seven runs (four earned). He has not really pitched in almost two years so he could just be rusty, but this is certainly not the start he was hoping for.
5. German On a Short Leash
After an impressive Spring Training campaign, Domingo German earned a spot in the 2021 NY Yankees rotation. He won the job by outperforming the other candidates such as Deivi Garcia, but there is no guarantee that he will be there for long. In fact, after just two bad starts he was optioned to the alternate site. For now, the team is claiming that it’s only for scheduling reasons and he will be back next week to make another start but this is a situation to keep an eye on.
6. Dominant Bullpen
The bullpen has been one of the biggest strengths of the Yankees for several years, and so far this year is no different. The personnel is different but the results have been the same. The total combined results of Green, King, Loaisiga, O’Day, Wilson, and Chapman have been astonishing: 30 innings, zero earned runs, and 35 strikeouts.
7. Personal Catcher
Without officially confirming it, and of course being somewhat vague about it, Boone suggested that Kyle Higashioka could be the personal catcher for Cole moving forward, without actually calling it that. The Yankees successfully used Higgy in this role for Cole last year, so the chemistry is already there and it should be a smooth transition if that is indeed what is happening.
8. Strong Odor
The 2021 NY Yankees improved their infield depth and added another left-handed bat when they recently acquired Rougned Odor. He has been solid in two starts so far at second base and when he is in the lineup, it actually improves the defense of this team. When Odor starts at second, DJ LeMahieu slides over to first base and pushes Jay Bruce to the bench.
9. Gleyber Day
The one concern with Gleyber Torres is his defense at shortstop. He still has not shown that he can consistently play the position at a high level. He is currently the only real option for the 2021 NY Yankees at shortstop, and they definitely want to keep his dangerous bat in the lineup, so it’s clearly still his job for the foreseeable future.
10. Judging Injuries
Though fortunately he was able to avoid the IL and only had to miss a couple of games, Aaron Judge already had an injury scare this season. There is no doubt that when he plays he is one of the best players in all of baseball, but he just can’t seem to stay fully healthy. For now, at least, he is back again and playing like the superstar that he is.
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