Yankees bench ice-cold outfielder

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees, jake bauers
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are gearing up for a pivotal showdown with the Atlanta Braves this Wednesday, marking the conclusion of a three-game series. Amidst a concerning four-game losing streak, the Yankees are in a race against time to recover their form, especially with their playoff chances dwindling rapidly.

Lineup Changes on the Horizon

In an attempt to revitalize the squad, Manager Aaron Boone has announced a strategic alteration to the starting lineup for Wednesday’s match. The major shift sees outfielder Jake Bauers, 27, being sidelined from the batting order after being an integral part of the team this season due to significant issues in the outfield.

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Bauers’ season statistics paint a mixed picture. He’s recorded a .214 batting average with a .291 OBP, 11 homers, 26 RBIs, a concerning 34.4% strikeout rate, a 10.1% walk rate, and a wRC+ of 100.

However, a deeper dive into his recent form reveals a sharp decline in August. Over 50 at-bats, Bauers’ performance has been worrisome, registering a .160 batting average, .218 OBP, and a .518 OPS. This includes a mere two homers, four RBIs, and an alarming 24 strikeouts. A standout low was his five-strikeout display against the Miami Marlins this past Sunday.

A detailed breakdown of Bauers’ matchups reveals a distinct pattern. Against right-handed pitchers, he has maintained a reasonable .222 average and a .303 OBP with a .780 OPS. But his record against left-handed pitchers tells a starkly different story: an almost negligible .160 average with a .192 OBP, based on just four hits from 25 at-bats.

While the Yankees might envision Bauers as a valuable bench player going forward, relying on him as a consistent starter is now a fading prospect. The emerging consensus suggests that the Yankees might be better served promoting Triple-A sensation Everson Pereira, who showcases the potential to fortify their outfield, whether in a corner position or even as a central figure.

McKinney Takes Over in LF For the Yankees

Stepping up to fill the void left by Bauers for the upcoming game against the Braves is Billy McKinney. Aged 28, McKinney boasts a .235 average, .328 OBP, complemented by six homers, 14 RBIs, a 25.5% strikeout rate, an 11.7% walk rate, and a wRC+ of 109. McKinney’s numbers, especially his .644 OPS in recent times, underline his capability to outshine Bauers’ recent outputs.