The 2014 Yankees just can’t catch a break. Seemingly everything that could go wrong, has.
Ivan Nova lasted about 3 weeks before he went down with Tommy John surgery, Michael Pineda dominated for 3 weeks until he hurt his troubled shoulder. We may not see him again this year.
CC Sabathia lasted 5 weeks and now it appears his season (and maybe career) could be over, and yesterday, Masahiro Tanaka was put on the disabled list with inflammation in his elbow. Tanaka is flying to Seattle to meet with Yankees team doctor Chris Ahmad to determine the extent of the injury.
With the luck of this year’s Yankees team, it would only be fitting if Tanaka is out for an extended period of time.
Four out of the five Yankee starters at the beginning of the season are all on the DL at the same time, and 3 could be out for the season, if not more.
Who would have ever thought the Yankees rotation would consist of Hiroki Kuroda, David Phelps, Brandon McCarthy, Shane Greene, and a 5th that’s currently TBD. Joe Girardi would be foolish to go back to Chase Whitley at this time, but he may not have a choice.
Phelps was supposed to be long man out of the bullpen when the season started, and now he’s the number 2 starter. Brandon McCarthy took the spot of Vidal Nuno, and no one expected either of them to be an important part of this team, and the Yankees aren’t even sure if Greene will stick around much longer.
The good news for the starting rotation is that the bullpen has been absolutely sensational. Dellin Betances was named an all-star and leads all relievers in strikeouts, David Robertson has blown just 2 saves all year, Adam Warren has emerged as a highly effective arm out of the pen, and Shawn Kelley has gotten the job done as well.
Make no mistake about it, the Yankees can’t continue to go forward with its current pitching set-up. The starters have to get more consistent and give more length, otherwise what’s been the strength of the 2014 Yankees, the bullpen, will get worn out.
As much trouble as the pitching staff has given the team, the offense hasn’t exactly picked up the slack.
Alfonso Soriano went from a 30 home-run, 100+ RBI guy, to a non-factor who couldn’t catch up to a 93 MPH fastball overnight. Soriano was designated for assignment on Sunday after he hadn’t hit a home-run since May 17th and was hitting .091 in July.
Carlos Beltran could seriously be made of glass. Every time the Yankees look up, Beltran has a new injury. First it was the elbow, then the knee, and last night, he fouled a ball off his face during batting practice and had to be pulled from the lineup. Beltran reportedly broke his nose and there is no timetable for his return. When he’s been in the lineup, he’s struggled with an abysmal .216 average, 9 HR, and 28 RBIs.
It’s not even like those injuries have gone away. The elbow continues to be a problem, the knee just flared up recently, and now he has facial injuries. I don’t think if I’ve ever heard of a player fouling a ball of their nose in batting practice. We’re talking about batting practice!
Then there’s one of the Yankees big off-season additions in Brian McCann who’s hitting 44 points below his career average. His HR and RBI totals are living up to his recent history, but the Yankees thought the short porch in right would make a tremendous difference.
Despite everything that’s gone on, the Yankees are someway, somehow on the brink of a playoff spot sitting just 3 games back of the Baltimore Orioles for the division lead with a 3-game set coming up this weekend, and 2.5 games back of the Seattle Mariners for the 2nd Wild Card spot.
If Brian Cashman could bring in a Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee, as well as a reliable offensive bat, the Yankees could be back in business.