New York Yankees
When last we saw the New York Yankees—back in May, when the Yanks took three of four from the Mariners in the Bronx—they were the walking wounded, with 13 players on the injured list and struggling to win in the early going. Now, they're still the walking wounded, with a different set of names on the IL, but dominating the AL East, nine games up on the second-place Rays. The Bronx Infirmary, as NY's IL has become known, now includes 16 players, including former Mariner Edwin Encarnación, with a 17th, infielder Didi Gregorius, sitting out with a sore shoulder but not (yet) on the IL.
So, with all those injuries, how are the Yankees doing it? Well, they are the Evil Empire, so maybe the devil is involved if you believe such things, but mostly it's D.J. LeMahieu. The former Gold Glove second baseman decided to sign as a free agent with New York despite being told he'd be a utility man, with the middle infield being the province of Gleyber Torres and Gregorius. Why? It was a puzzle. Sure, the lure of a championship is always prevalent when one is a free agent and the Yankees call, but surely you'd want to play every day at your established position. LeMahieu said OK, though, and it paid off—he's a legit favorite to be AL MVP, batting .331/.378/.531 playing at first base, second base, and third base and thanks to all the injuries has started 115 of the Yankees' 132 games.
LeMahieu has had some help, of course; of the non-injured Yankees, Aaron Judge, Gio Urshella, and Torres have each been getting on base at better than a .350 clip, and fill-in pieces Mike Tauchman and ex-Mariner Cameron Maybin have been significantly outperforming their baseball cards. Collectively, the Yankees will hit a lot of home runs—their 241 total is second in the American League—and have been on a home run tear of late, hitting 61 in August alone.
On the mound for New York this series will be former Mariner J.A. Happ, Masahiro Tanaka, and our old friend James Paxton. Happ is 10-8, but with a hefty 5.58 ERA and 31 home runs allowed; he got the win in one of the May games against Seattle. Tanaka, who had a no-decision against the M's in May, has been struggling, with an ERA over 7.00 in his last seven starts; his last time out, the Oakland A's tagged him for five runs in six innings. As for Paxton, Big Maple has yet to face his old mates. He's been pretty good for New York, though not ace-like; he has 10 wins to go with his 4.43 ERA and, of course, is still racking up the strikeouts with 152 Ks on the year. Those three will be opposed by Tommy Milone (again dumbly following an "opener"), Yusei Kikuchi, and Justus Sheffield. Milone has been good for anywhere between four and six innings of late, with mediocre results, so he's a decent match for Happ. Tuesday night should be a Japanese Media Extravaganza with Tanaka facing Kikuchi; Yusei is coming off his first Major League shutout in his last start. Wednesday afternoon will be an interesting pairing with Paxton vs. Sheffield, the two arms that were essentially traded for each other in the offseason.
Yankees vs. Tommy Milone (CAREER)
Yankees vs. Yusei Kikuchi (CAREER)
Yankees vs. Justus Sheffield (CAREER)
|vs. AL West||9-9|
Who’s Hot & Not
Last 10 games
.342/.390/.842, 6 HR, 7 RBI
.286/.375/.629, 4 HR, 7 RBI
.294/.359/.353, 2 2B, 4 RBI
.211/.268/.368, 5 XBH, 4 RBI, 10 K
.152/.243/.303, 3 XBH, 3 RBI, 14 K
Last 3 series vs. Seattle
|5/9/19||NYY 3, SEA 1|
|5/8/19||SEA 10, NYY 1|
|5/7/19||NYY 5, SEA 4|
|5/6/19||NYY 7, SEA 3|
|9/9/18||SEA 3, NYY 2|
|9/8/18||NYY 4, SEA 2|
|9/7/18||NYY 4, SEA 0|
|6/21/18||NYY 4, SEA 3|
|6/20/18||NYY 7, SEA 5|
|6/19/18||NYY 7, SEA 2|
Aaron Boone: Boone led the Yankees to the postseason as the Wild Card entrant in his rookie managerial year last season, winning 100 games. Nevertheless, there are some in Yankee fandom who are down on him, claiming that GM Brian Cashman and New York's analytics team are the ones who dictate lineups and strategy and Boone simply chews sunflower seeds and waits for someone to hit one over the fence. But in this season Boone has kept the Yankees loose and has them winning despite a plethora of injuries, which should count for something with even the harshest critics.
Cory Gearrin: Wait, he's a Yankee now? Yep, claimed off the waiver wire just a few days prior to this series, after the Mariners designated him for assignment to clear a roster spot for Justus Sheffield's recall from the minors. Gearrin was pretty decent out of the Mariners' 'pen this year, pitching to a 3.92 ERA in just over 40 innings. He's made just one appearance for New York so far, two-thirds of an inning against the Dodgers last Saturday.
|New York Yankees||(1913 - present)|
|World Champions:||1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009|
|League Champions:||1921, 1922, 1926, 1942, 1955, 1957, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1976, 1981, 2001, 2003|
|Division Titles:||1980, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2012|
Historical Accuracy: It had been accepted that the Yankees originated as a founding member of the American League called the Baltimore Orioles, and that those Orioles relocated to New York in 1903. Recently, though, baseball historians, including the authors of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, have decided that it's more accurate to call the 1901-02 Orioles a separate franchise. Though when the AL was founded it was intended (secretly) that Baltimore would be a temporary home for a team while property in Manhattan was acquired for a ballpark, a feud erupted between league president Ban Johnson and John McGraw, who was running the Orioles, and McGraw connived to ruin the Baltimore club; the Orioles essentially had to fold in mid-season 1902, finishing out its schedule by fielding players borrowed from other teams. The New York team that began play in 1903 is now considered by these experts to be a new franchise created to fill the gap left by the Orioles' collapse. A fascinating article on the whole mess, by MLB official historian John Thorn, is recommended reading.