The Yankees are locked in a heated AL Wild Card race with just ten games remaining in the regular season. They currently trail the Toronto Blue Jays by just one game in the loss column for the second Wild Card spot and are only two games back of the leaders, the Boston Red Sox. What makes their postseason push even more interesting is the fact that six of their final ten games are against those two teams that they are chasing. Therefore, the Yankees control their own destiny.
In these final days of the regular season, the Yankees are set to get a huge boost to their pitching staff. They have several players working their way back from injuries that are scheduled to return before the end of the season if all goes according to plan. These pitching reinforcements may be just what the Yankees need to punch their ticket to the postseason, especially given their struggles on the mound this year as a team.
Help Is on the Way
The Yankees are expecting to get four key pitchers back soon who are all returning from injuries. They are Luis Severino, Domingo German, Jameson Taillon, and Jonathan Loaisiga. This gives the Yankees some much-needed help to their pitching staff while adding flexibility as well.
The long wait for the return of Luis Severino is finally over. He completed his journey back from Tommy John surgery in 2019. Before the arrival of Gerrit Cole, Severino had become the ace of the Yankees pitching staff so his return is a big one. For now, at least, it looks like he will be utilized out of the bullpen rather than in the rotation. This is how the Yankees believe they can maximize his contributions in the short term considering he has not pitched in the majors in almost two years. Additionally, the bullpen could use an upgrade right now and Severino is capable of getting big outs in pivotal situations.
On Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers, Severino made his first appearance of the season. He looked strong, throwing 19 of his 30 pitches for strikes across two innings of work. He allowed just two hits and zero walks while also striking out two. His command was solid and his success should give him a nice confidence boost moving forward.
Next up for returning pitchers to the Yankees will be Domingo German. He is scheduled to be activated at some point within the next couple of days and could even be as early as Tuesday. He last made a rehab appearance this past Saturday so he is ready to go as soon as the team decides to make the move. It’s unclear whether German will join the rotation or work out of the bullpen but either way, he provides the Yankees with a reliable option to go multiple innings in key spots.
If Jameson Taillon stays on a normal schedule as planned, he would be lined to start for the Yankees next Tuesday. This would also mean that he would be available to start on regular rest for the season finale if necessary. Unlike German and Severino, who were both out longer, Taillon will almost definitely return to his role in the starting rotation rather than being moved to the bullpen. The added flexibility and additional reliable arms could be the catalyst to this final stretch run for the Yankees.
Jonathan Loaisiga was having a breakout season before being placed on the injured list. Not only was he the most reliable reliever on the team this season, but he was also having the best year of any pitcher on the staff besides Cole. It is completely up in the air right now as to whether or not he will be ready to return before the end of the regular season. More importantly, if the Yankees do make the postseason, they hope to have him back to full strength by then. If they are going to make a deep run, having his arm at the back of the bullpen is crucial.
Come join the discussion made by the fans at the Overtime Heroics forums! A place for all sports!
main image credit: Embed from Getty Images