The Yankees have a pretty decent lead in the American League East, and with two months to go, what are their keys to hold on and win it all?
Let’s start with the obvious things: the New York Yankees are very, very good and, as they currently stand, are World Series Contenders. They sit atop the American League East over the Tampa Bay Rays by six games, with the Boston Red Sox an even 10 back. However, the division is far from over and there is still 69 games left to play. For the Yankees to win their first division crown since 2012, there are a few things the Bombers need to handle.
The Yankees Need More Pitching
We’ve heard it for years, and we’ll continue to hear it well through the Trade Deadline: the Yankees need more pitching. That statement has been embedded into fans’ heads for as long as they can remember, as New York continues to look for starting (and relief) pitching year in and year out and, truth be told, they need it.
The Yankees’ rotation has been fairly inconsistent to this point. James Paxton has been very hit or miss, Domingo German and CC Sabathia have spent time on the Injured List and J.A. Happ has overall been a disappointment through the first 93 games of the season. The only constant has been Masahiro Tanaka, and even he has his off-days, totaling to a 3.81 ERA this season.
Thus, the Yankees have been connected to a handful of starting pitchers, mainly guys like Marcus Stroman and Trevor Bauer, among others. They’ve also shown interest in many relievers as well, like Ken Giles of the Blue Jays. With the Starting rotation being as shaky as its been, another starting pitcher would be a welcome addition. Expect Brian Cashman to swing a trade for an arm come the deadline.
Keep Scoring Runs
Every offense goes through hot and cold streaks. It’s going to happen one way or another, whenever that remains to be seen. Having said that, the Yankees need to avoid a prolonged slump. A stretch of 30 games where the offense goes ice cold and the Yankees stop winning could put a damper on the Yanks’ AL East winning-chances.
Now, do I think that that’ll happen here with the Yankees? No, I don’t. But it can, and it’s a real possibility. A tough stretch in August or September can plummet a season–a fate the Yankees simply must avoid.
Beat the Bad Teams
Last year, the Yankees didn’t exactly pick apart bad teams, while the Red Sox did. This is something that’s been attributed to one of the reasons the Bombers finished 8 games in back of Boston last season, and it’s a very fair argument. Take the Baltimore Orioles, for example, the Yankees went 12-7 against an abysmal Baltimore team, possibly the worst Oriole team in the history of the franchise. Don’t get me wrong, 12-7 isn’t bad, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not great, either, especially when the Orioles finished with a record of 47-115.
Meanwhile, Boston decimated to O’s, taking 16 out of the 19 games against them. That’s a four-game difference in the American League East, half of the Red Sox’s lead over the Yankees.
Essentially, the Yankees must continue to take care of business against the teams below them. This includes the Detroit Tigers, Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, and others. If they drop the ball on games that they should be winning, it very well may cost them.
The Yankees are a really, really great team, but they can’t get complacent now. The Bombers need to put the pedal to the medal here and ensure a division title.