New Yankees bullpen trade acquisition torches former team

mlb: chicago white sox at oakland athletics, yankees, keynan middleton
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees may have been relatively quiet at the trade deadline this past Tuesday, but two new bullpen additions might make a difference. The acquisitions of Keynan Middleton from the Chicago White Sox and Spencer Howard from the Texas Rangers show general manager Brian Cashman’s intent to enhance the bullpen.

Keynan Middleton: A Fresh Start with the Yankees

While Spencer Howard was promptly sent to Triple-A Scranton, Keynan Middleton has already demonstrated a positive influence on the Yankees, albeit across a small sample size.

Middleton’s Performance

Previously known for his fastball pitching, averaging 95.9 mph, Middleton joined the Yankees with an impressive 3.96 ERA and 11.64 strikeouts per nine across 36.1 innings. In his brief time with the Bombers, Middleton has pitched 3.0 innings without allowing a run and has struck out five batters, performing well against the potent Houston Astros lineup.

A New Chapter

Middleton expressed gratitude for the opportunity to pitch for a club with greater aspirations, contrasting his experience in Chicago. He remarked about the difference in atmosphere and how the Yankees’ environment allowed him to escape what he referred to as the “BS.”

“Showing up was dark in Chicago this year,” Middleton said before Sunday’s loss to the Astros. “It wasn’t very much fun most of the time. Just to be here in a different environment, different atmosphere, don’t have to worry about the BS. 

The Yankees, currently in the midst of a playoff race but trailing 12 games back in the AL East and 4.5 games back in the Wild Card, need Middleton’s enthusiasm and skill.

Middleton seems optimistic, stating, “I’m excited to be here. They’re playing meaningful ballgame games here, and that’s all I’ve really wanted to do my whole career.”

Challenges and Opportunities Ahead

The Yanks face an uphill battle to climb their way back up the standings, but opportunities lie ahead. They are set to face Middleton’s former team, the Chicago White Sox, one of the least-performing clubs this season. This encounter offers the Yankees a significant chance to secure three consecutive wins.

The White Sox Match-up

Middleton, sharp in two appearances with the Yankees, highlighted the importance of the upcoming games. “This is a team that’s going for a playoff spot, and they’re trying to fight to get there,” he said.

The White Sox, with a 45–68 record this year, presents a potentially favorable match-up for the Yankees. Monday night’s contest will see Gerrit Cole, with a 2.64 ERA, facing Dylan Cease, hosting a 4.61 ERA across 121 innings. The statistics seem to favor the Yankees, known as the Bombers, though their struggles against starting pitching this year cannot be overlooked.

While the Yankees’ trade deadline moves were limited, the addition of Keynan Middleton provides fresh support in the bullpen. The Yankees need all hands on deck with meaningful games on the horizon and a chance to make up ground in the playoff race.

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