This season, Aaron Judge has missed 57 games, Gary Sanchez has missed 41 and Luis Severino hasn’t made a start.
But the Yankees are still in a fight for the MLB’s best record. Manager Aaron Boone has scrambled lineups day in and day out, piecing together wins and keeping the bullpen rested for the postseason.
It has seemed like whomever the Yankees have called up from Triple-A has come through and patched the holes in the lineup, but the three players they stole from the Colorado Rockies — among others — have led the charge of keeping this team dominant.
Reliever Adam Ottavino added depth to a bullpen that was already arguably the best in the league, but the Yankees have been without Dellin Betances all season, and he was a vital piece to the bullpen pre-injury. He’s expected to recover from the right shoulder impingement and return in September.
DJ LeMehieu and Mike Tauchman, who some thought would be waived, have been outstanding, to say the least.
LeMehieu currently leads the Majors with a .336 batting average and Tauchman has 61 hits in 71 games, including 17 in August, not to mention the 29 home runs from shortstop Gleyber Torres — whom they received from the Chicago Cubs in 2016 as part of the Aroldis Chapman deal. Chapman, of course, signed with the Yankees that offseason.
That said, the Yankees solved the Greg Bird problem last July by trading Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos to the St. Louis Cardinals for Luke Voit, who was a minor-leaguer at the time.
Voit flourished with the Yankees, hitting 14 home runs after the trade, and ultimately convinced the organization that he was more consistent than Bird, who suffered another injury heading into this season.
Though Voit has had a few stints on the injured list, himself, he’s been productive when he’s been out there. He has career-highs across the board — he’s played in 94 games, gotten 97 hits and hit 19 home runs.
That has overshadowed what starting pitcher Domingo German has done. In the absence of Severino, German has become the ace of the staff, allowing the team some flexibility while deciding whether Severino should start immediately or begin as a bullpen weapon.
German is currently 16-2 and seems to be the obvious choice for the starter for the opening game of a playoff series. Boone has hinted at this recently, backtracking on previous statements that German would have an innings limit this season.
Nonetheless, this success is more about the attitude in the clubhouse than anything else. Boone has his guys convinced they can win games despite injuries and can’t feel bad for themselves.
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Also, AAA International League leader Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders (Baby Yankees) have been called and produced as well. Great article, Joe!
As an Astros fan watching from Houston, this Yankees showing is both inspiring and scary.