The New York Yankees have completed all 162 games of the 2018 regular season, finishing with a 100-62 record and a spot in the postseason.
**Since the publication of this article, the Yankees have announced the Luis Severino will be starting the Wild Card game.**
The team finished off the regular season with a road trip to Tampa Bay and Boston, going 5-2. During the final regular series against the Red Sox, the offense erupted in the first two games, clinching home-field advantage after Friday’s victory.
They broke the record for most home runs in a single season when Gleyber Torres belted the team’s 265th, ending the regular season with 267. Additionally, they are the first team to record at least 20 HR from every spot in the batting order. After ending the regular season with a loss, the team looks for a playoff push.
The Yankees have not yet announced who will start the Wildcard game. The choice for starter is among JA Happ, Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino, though most signs point to Happ getting the nod. Aaron Boone discussed the plan for the starter to pitch between 2-5 innings, then hand over the rest to the bullpen, depending on how the game situations play out.
While the offense has improved with the postseason approaching, several pieces of the bullpen have started to–yet again–become a question mark in the month of September.
David Robertson has allowed 6 ER in 10.2 innings of work, yielding a 5.06 ERA this month (3.23 on the season). A.J. Cole has struggled, allowing 7 ER in 5 games, amounting to a whopping 17.18 ERA (6.14 on the season). Tommy Kahnle’s 7 ER in 7.1 innings of work led to an 8.59 ERA (6.56 on the season).
Still, the Yankees have several key pitchers who have performed well this month. Zach Britton did not allow any runs in 10 games, lowering his ERA to 3.10. Stephen Tarpley has quietly aided the ‘pen with nine scoreless outings. He finished with a 3.00 ERA since his call-up. Chad Green had a bit of a shaky season, but ended with a 1.59 ERA in September, resulting in an impressive 2.50 ERA on the season.
Boone emphasized the importance of staying focused and not looking too far ahead to the contingent Boston series, New York Post’s George A. King III reports:
“there is always a big picture involved and we are in this thing to win the whole thing but first things first and pouring everything we have into winning Wednesday and making that decision on what gives us the best chance to win.’’
The Yankees’ offense has started to heat up at one of its most crucial points.
Luke Voit continues to be a huge addition to the lineup, slashing .333/.414/.736 with 10 HR this month. His offensive contributions to the team have been invaluable for weeks. He heads into the Wildcard as one of the team’s strongest players.
Leading ROY candidate Miguel Andújar has supplemented his campaign with a solid September. He batted .284 with 27 H and 17 RBI. On Sunday, he surpassed Joe Dimaggio in the franchise record for rookie doubles with his forty-sixth.
But the power does not stop just there. The lineup is stacked with clutch hitters: players like Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Andrew McCutchen and Gleyber Torres provide durability from top to bottom. Even Gary Sanchez, who struggled greatly through most of the year, shows a much more confident presence at the plate and could dramatically help the team. This offense is starting to click, and the Yankees need an offensive surge now more than ever.
The Yankees have just one opportunity to further their postseason hopes. Every game they have played has led up to this Wildcard match.
The keys to winning this game are clean play, clutch hitting, and short leashes for pitching. Offensively, the Yankees are in a good position. As for pitching, Boone will not hesitate to make dramatic pitching moves. If the chosen starter struggles initially, expect the bullpen to take over early. Sloppy defense can be unforgiving. The Yankees prioritizing smooth play and error-free ball will aid in this “do-or-die” battle.
Just one more game is guaranteed for the Yankees. This team has all the components it needs for success. Now, the team just needs to deliver. With the season on the line, they will play the Oakland Athletics in the Wildcard game on Wednesday, October 3 at Yankee Stadium.
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