On Thursday night, the New York Yankees secured a Postseason Spot by clinching the AL East. In a season plagued by so many injuries, the Yankees were still dominant enough to take the East. Not only that, they are one of the best teams in the league with already over 100 wins. This is third consecutive season the Yankees made the postseason. However, this is just the first time the Yankees have won their division since 2012. Going into the playoffs there is one goal for the Bronx Bombers, to win the World Series.
The Yankees lineup is among the best in the league. They are leading the majors in both runs scored and home runs as a team. They have done this with players like Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton missing time. However, this offense still has some unanswered questions heading into the postseason. Currently Gary Sanchez and Edwin Encarnacion are both on the IL but are expected to be back by October. With these players back it seem the Yankees just have too many players.
The outfield and catcher seems to be set. The outfield will most likely consist of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin. Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine will be the two catchers on the playoff roster. The starting infield however is going to be a question mark. The Yankees will probably have Voit, Torres, LeMahieu, Gregorious, Urshela and Encarnacion on their roster. They have so many options to run with in the infield. The most likely starting infield for the Yankees would be Lemahieu at third, Gregorious at shortstop, Torres at second, Voit at first and Encarnacion at DH. Gio Urshela would be coming off the bench. No matter what Aaron Boone decides to do with his lineup, the Yankees have the ability to put up runs on the board. Their offense will need to stay hot if they have any chance at a World Series run.
Similar to the lineup, the Yankees bullpen is very dominant as they have very good arms. Pitchers such as Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman have been outstanding all year. Pitchers Luis Cessa and Chad Green have histories of struggling but have been lights out as of late. Both pitchers have ERAs and WHIPs below 1 in their last 7 games. The Yankees bullpen is among the top 10 in stats including strikeouts, ERA and WHIP.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Dellin Betances is out for the season with a partially torn achilles. While losing an all star caliber pitcher is a major loss, it’s a loss they can afford. They will probably use Nester Cortes as a long reliever and also maybe use CC Sabathia in the bullpen as well. They also may be utilized if the Yankees decide to go with an opener. The Yankees have one of the most feared bullpens in baseball and will need to play a large role in a playoff run.
The biggest question mark for New York is their starting rotation. They have struggled with that all season as they currently ranked 16th in team ERA among starters. Despite the struggles there the Yankees have picked it up as of late. James Paxton has been pitching at an elite level as he is 9-0 with a 2.50 ERA in his last 9 starts. J.A. Happ who has been having a terrible season has been much better as of late. In his last 7 games he is 3-1 with a 3.47 ERA and a WHIP of 1.16. Tanaka is a question mark as he is very inconsistent. Some days he pitches like an ace while others he will give up five runs in three innings.
Another good sign for the Yankees is the return of Luis Severino. After battling a shoulder injury, Severino made his season debut on Tuesday. He looked very good in his debut as he went 4 innings and gave up only 2 hits as well as no runs. Even though he only went 4 innings this is a great sign with the postseason right around the corner. Many people have counted the Yankees out because of their starting rotation. However, they are not as weak as they were earlier in the season and can go toe-to-toe with any team.
When looking at the Yankees roster as a whole it is not a question that this team is World Series or bust. They won 100+ games for the second year in a row and are one of the best teams in baseball. When you have a team with the track record like the Yankees, expectations are high. Having to go through teams like the Astros, Dodgers, Braves and Twins won’t be easy, but the Yankees have the talent to beat any one of those teams. If the Yankees can finish with the best record in baseball that will help as well. Having home field advantage against a team like Houston is huge. The Yankees have a real opportunity this season to win their 1st World Series of the decade and their 28th in franchise history.