After a tough loss in their series against the Oakland A’s the New York Yankees head to Seattle to face the Mariners. The Yankees have dealt with a number of issues on the field this season. We have documented many of them. But this is the time of the season when the elite teams separate themselves. And the Yankees must do that starting tonight in Seattle. So let’s look at some of the players helping to push forward into October. And some who are struggling to further the Yankees playoff hopes.
1 Up- Luke Voit
So we covered Luke in our last Yankees 3 Up and 3 Down piece, but he is still raking. Over his last 7 games, Voit is slashing .280/.357/.760. Voit’s got 4 homers during his last 7 games as well. Just for a bit of context and comparison, Greg Bird has 3 home runs over his last 30 games. Voit has taken full advantage of the opportunity given to him by the struggles of Bird. If Voit can keep this pace he will successfully move Greg Bird out of the starting role full time.
1 Down- Luis Severino
So let’s be clear I still believe that Luis Severino has all necessary tools to be the Ace the Yankees need. However, over the last third of his season, he has not been pitching like that. Over his last 15 starts, Sevy has an ERA of nearly 5 (4.90.) Before this last stretch, Luis had the best ERA (2.09) in the American League and the second best in the Majors be Jacob deGrom. But now Severino’s ERA is over 3.52. The Yankees success will fall on the shoulders of their starting pitchers. And now more than Severino, so he needs to find the fix to correct whatever the issues have been.
2 Up- Gleyber Torres
Minus a brief stretch, Gleyber Torres has been a revelation for the New York Yankees. When acquired in 2016 for Aroldis Chapman everyone knew Gleyber would be a tremendous player. However, even being as highly touted as he was, Torres has exceeded expectations. Over his last 7 games, Torres has 2 home runs, 8 RBI’s and is slashing .333/.407/.583. Since Didi Gregorius went down with a heel injury, Gleyber has spent much of that time at shortstop and hasn’t skipped a beat. Now that Didi is back Torres will be back at second base. Which should help improve the Yanks defense once again.
2 Down- Gary Sanchez
So if you watched the final game in Oakland you know that Gary Sanchez was going to find himself on this list. Yes, Gary hit a home run. But that doesn’t excuse a trend we have seen all season long. Sanchez has gone from a great hitter with power to a swing and miss guy. When Gary Sanchez came up at the end of the 2015 season he went off on a tear. Sanchez would nearly win the Rookie of the Year and he didn’t start his big league season until August. But this season it has felt as if Gary is always trying to send the ball out of the ballpark. Instead of letting his natural talent and strength take control. For the season, Gary is slashing .186/.283/.411 with 15 home runs and 45 RBI’s. Gary is a much better hitter than his .186 batting average. Sanchez’s defense has been a struggle this season as well. Some call it a lack of conditioning, others deem it a lack of hustle. But whatever you call it, it must be improved. Because having Sanchez behind the plate will bring about the best lineup for the Yankees on a nightly basis.
3 Up- Aaron Judge
Yes, Aaron Judge is still on the DL. But we got some positive news this week that he has begun swinging a bat again. And it shouldn’t be long before we have a timetable for his return to the lineup. No matter the depth of this lineup (and it is very deep on its good days) the Bronx Bombers need Aaron Judge. Aaron Judge gives this lineup a depth that few players can provide. Judge sees a lot of pitches, he seeming is 3-2 everytime he steps in the batter’s box. This not only works up the opposing pitcher’s pitch count. But also allows his teammates a better look at what the pitcher has that day. When Judge returns to the lineup his presence should help this team get back to doing what it does best and that’s driving the ball all over the yard.
3 Down- Greg Bird
Earlier we touched on Luke Voit and his hot streak. But for every Lou Gehrig, there’s a Wally Pip. Now by no means am I saying that Voit is the next Gehrig. All I am saying is that Greg Bird has struggled and has seemingly lost his role as the starting first baseman. Over his last 30 games, Bird is slashing a lowly .146/.217/.272 with only 3 home runs. If Greg has any hopes of regaining his spot as the Yankees first baseman he has to start producing. Both offensively and defensively Bird has struggled and will have to turn it around if he wants to remain a New York Yankee.
B.O.L.O.- Didi Gregorius
Didi Gregorius will be activated from the Disabled List before tonight’s game against the Mariners. Didi has been the stalwart and constant this season for the Yanks. So when he went down with the heel contusion the Yankees to a hit. Not just metaphorically but on the field it also manifested. It showed with the Yankees defense and in their lineup. Didi has been at the forefront of many clutch hits for the Yanks. And at the helm of many defensive gems this season as well. Gregorius is one of the top shortstops in the game today. And his re-addition to this team will be felt immediately on both sides of the ball.