After three consecutive losses, the New York Yankees entered last night’s game with the hope of righting the ship with ace Gerrit Cole on the mound. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen as the Yankees slipped another game behind in the AL East when they lost their second game against the Toronto Blue Jays. What was even worse, Cole left the game injured. As a result, the Yankees lost the game 5-1.
Gerrit Cole leaves the game with an injury
The New York Yankees tentative pitching situation may have just gotten worse. The Yankees had had a questionable pitching outlook from the beginning of the season when they hired two pitchers for their starting rotation that hadn’t pitched in nearly two years. That has gone pretty well, except for a few bumps along the way. Jameson Taillon started slow but, as time passed, became one of the Yankee’s best pitchers. In addition, the Corey Kluber experiment didn’t go well, with him going to the IL for three months.
The bullpen started as one of the best in baseball, but as the season progressed, they lost members, and the remaining arms tired out. Nevertheless, the Yankees could count on ace Gerrit Cole, but now even that is in question. Cole pulled himself out of a game last night against the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth inning. It was not immediately clear what the problem was. But after his removal, a few innings later, the Yankees announced that he had left the game with left hamstring tightness. So this morning should be telling with just how impactful this will be for the Yankees and their postseason race.
After the game in an interview, Cole did not give any assurances other than we will have to wait and see how this unfolds in the next 24 to 36 hours. After a pitch in the fourth inning, Cole felt something and signaled to the dugout to come out to the mound. Cole reminded questioners that this is not the first time this has happened. “it’s one of those things you go through; hopefully, I will not miss a start.” Cole stated that he took himself out of the game to avoid further injury. Manager Boone was asked if an MRI was ordered, he said no, we would have to see how he is in the morning.
If Cole only misses one start because of needing a little more rest, that will be the upside. However, if the situation is more problematic, it could be devastating for the Yankees and their hope of postseason play.
The Yankees continue the slide as division is slipping away
For a short time after a languid start to the season, things looked pretty rosy for the Yankees as they became the winningest team in baseball, even winning 13 games in a row. But after losing 4 straight, things have turned from joist to worrisome. With only 24 games to go, the Yankees have slipped to 9.5 games behind the AL East Tampa Bay Rays and only one-half game ahead of the Boston Red Sox.
So what’s the problem? The Yankees pitching hasn’t been as good, and the bullpen is horribly overworked. That would be bad enough, but the Yankees have returned to the team that before the All-Star break just not hitting the ball. During the recent skid, the Yankees have not hit an extra-base hit since Sunday. The Yankees have only scored one run in the last 21 innings. It’s the first time since 1962 that the Yankees have not hit an extra-base hit in consecutive games.
It is often said that “how Aaron Judge goes, so do the Yankees.” Judge has gone 0-4 in the Yankees last four games. For the most part, Judge has carried the team throughout the season and now needs his teammates to pick him up, but that is not happening. The Yankees are now 2-8 in their last ten games and are in danger of losing home-field advantage in a wild card game if they reach it at all.
Two big cogs missing as the train stalls
The train had left the station, but some key players were not onboard. The entire team is not hitting, but there are two glaring deficiencies. First, Joey Gallo and Gleyber Torres are missing in action and taking up space in the once-powerful lineup.
Just before the trade deadline, the New York Yankees picked up Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers. They knew at the time they would be getting a guy that strikes out a lot but is a home run powerhouse and had a high on-base percentage. But, for the most part, that has not happened. During August, he had only 15 hits. In September, only 1 hit in 19 at-bats, a home run. Also, he has only 3 walks over the span.
After the arrival of Andrew Velazquez and his excellent defense at short, and the spark he added to the team, many Yankee fans weren’t thrilled when Gleyber Torres returned off the IL. Torres for September has only 3 hits, none for extra bases. No home runs and never walking. He also has a career-high error number. Since his return, he has had 2 errors and one bad throw that was not labeled an error but may have cost the Yankees a game.
The bottom line in all of this is that the Yankees will have to take a closer look at both of these players. Using Andrew Velazquez more at short may be part of the answer. Another move the Yankees should make is moving Gallo out of the number two or three slots in the lineup. If these two players continue as they have in the last several games, being in any postseason lineup is in question.