On Wednesday night, for only the second time since May 30, the New York Yankees managed to post more than seven runs. With reigning MVP and superstar slugger Aaron Judge sidelined, the team’s offense has noticeably struggled.
Assessing the Yankees’ Offensive Struggles
In fact, the Yankees rank last in at-bats with runners in scoring position this season. They also have the third-fewest runs scored and the least number of hits. Judge’s absence has cast a gloomy shadow over the team in recent weeks. However, a significant positive development emerged on Wednesday before Domingo German’s perfect game against the Oakland Athletics.
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Signs of Recovery for Aaron Judge
Reporters noticed Judge engaged in a light catch and throwing a baseball before the match, a significant step forward considering his absence from baseball activities in recent weeks. Although a simple toss might seem insignificant, any progress in rehabilitation is crucial for a player like Judge, who is dealing with a torn ligament in his right big toe.
The 31-year-old was hitting .291 with a .404 OBP, 19 home runs, 40 RBIs, a 16.4% walk rate, and 189 wRC+ when he left the team. He is undeniably the team’s best and most critical player. However, other high-priced veterans have failed to contribute positively since his departure.
Pressure on Healthy Players to Step Up
If the Yankees hope to reach the playoffs, their fit players need to positively impact the team, as seen in the 11-run effort against Oakland last night. Currently, the Bombers are 9.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East and 4.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. In the Wild Card standings, the Yankees are half a game up over the Toronto Blue Jays, securing one of the three spots.
Despite the season being young and with the All-Star break approaching, the Yankees will need to use this time to recuperate and steer their season back on track.
Rising Stars and Questionable Strategies
Rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe and Giancarlo Stanton, who contributed a home run and three RBIs against the Athletics in the second game of a three-game series, have been positive additions. The Yankees certainly have enough talent to cover for Judge’s loss, but doubts have been raised about general manager Brian Cashman’s roster construction and the sustainability of his strategy.
His penchant for investing in injury-prone players has often proved to be flawed, as evidenced by Carlos Rodon’s six-year, $162 million deal, with Rodon yet to pitch in pinstripes.
Optimistic predictions suggest Judge could return by the end of July, though a mid-August return might be more realistic, considering toe injuries are notoriously challenging to recover from. DJ LeMahieu could attest to that. The Yankees are keenly awaiting Judge’s return to bring back their offensive might.