Despite owning the best record in baseball, the New York Yankees lost their first series over the weekend in quite some time. They dropped two of three games against the Chicago White Sox, with both losses coming on Sunday.
The Bombers only managed to score one run in two full games of action, showcasing the polarizing nature of their offense. When they are clicking on all cylinders, they are the best in baseball, but it’s like watching paint dry for three hours when things are quiet. However, the pitching experienced a few hiccups this past week, specifically regarding injuries.
Depth starting pitcher Luis Gil and bullpen arm Chad Green both will undergo UCL surgery, otherwise known as Tommy John. They will miss the rain remainder of the 2022 season, so the Yankees will now have to find a way to supplement their losses.
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The Yankees face two big hurdles after their first tough week of the season:
1.) Who will serve as the Yankees’ 6th starter?
Gil had only been asked to make one appearance after the Yankees used two starters in one day during a doubleheader on May 8 against the Texas Rangers. The team is coming off another this past weekend, so now might be a good time to discuss who the next starter in line might be.
The expectation is that Domingo German could make a return in the next month, and if he’s able to serve as a starter, the Yankees could use Michael King in that role until then. On Sunday, King struggled against the White Sox, but he still hosts a career-best 2.03 ERA with 12.83 strikeouts per nine over 26.2 innings.
King features one of the best sinkers in the game, throwing it at 95.1 mph this year, a tremendous increase from 2021. In fact, his velocity is up across-the-board, and he’s mostly been great with his locating as well.
The Yankees would feel comfortable utilizing King as a starter if required, but his relief role has really brought the best out of him in the middle innings.
Another low-key option could be Hayden Wesneski, who hosts a 2.31 ERA this season over eight games in Triple-A. His 0.82 whip is one of the best for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. At 24 years old, he’s ripe for an opportunity, but the Yankees might want to roll with a more experienced option like Clarke Schmidt.
2.) How will they replace Chad Green in the bullpen?
Yankees bullpen arm Chad Green will also miss the rest of the season with Tommy John’s surgery. Green was in a contract year, making this an even more unfortunate situation. However, the Yankees will have to find a way to supplement his loss, and they have a few options to choose from.
They could look to Miguel Castro to feature in a more expanded role, but he didn’t look so sharp against Chicago on Sunday, giving up a three-run homer after Jonathan Loáisiga was pulled.
The Yankees also utilized Triple-A arm David McKay on Sunday in the second game of the doubleheader. He pitched just 1.0 innings but looked sharp, striking out one batter and escaping in 17 pitches. JP Sears is also a good name to keep an eye on as a potential plug-and-play in the bullpen.
Given Green wasn’t a significant part of their bullpen after years of usage and decreased velocity, the Yanks shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a supplement. It does the wrench into their plans having two pitchers go down in just a few days. This is the team’s first major hurdle of the season, so it will be interesting to see how they deal with it.