The New York Yankees have been battling injuries in the bullpen the past few weeks, with Jonathan Loáisiga sustaining a shoulder injury, Aroldis Chapman battling Achilles tendinitis, and Chad Green undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Chapman is expected to make a return in the coming days, with his Achilles proving to be asymptomatic at this point. Loáisiga, on the other hand, had traveled to Nicaragua to deal with a family matter but is expected to make a return shortly.
Loaisiga posted on his Instagram story that he’s on his way back. The 27-year-old bullpen arm hosts a 7.02 ERA this season over 16.2 innings. He’s striking out 9.72 batters per nine but allowing 1.62 homers per nine. His 59.6% left on base rate is the worst in his career. Loáisiga still shows solid velocity with his fastball at 97.6 mph, down from 98.4 mph last year. Loáisiga continues to feature a sinker, curveball, change-up, and slider as his primary pitches. He’s throwing his sinker 59.1% of the time, a curveball at 19.4%, and a change-up at 12.9%.
New pitching coach Matt Blake has helped incorporate a lethal sinker into the repertoire of multiple bullpen arms. Unfortunately, Loáisiga’s sinker has not generated much production, as opposing batters are hitting .333 against that specific pitch with two homers and 13 hits. His curveball and change-up have been the most effective for Loáisiga, so he may want to consider relying on those two pitches more frequently when he returns from injury.
Hopefully, the Nicaraguan relief arm can return to his previous form, helping mitigate fatigue in the bullpen.
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New York Yankees Vs. Tampa Bay Rays series preview:
Some may point to the Yankees taking on bad teams as a catalyst for their success recently. However, the Bombers are preparing to go on a tough stretch, hosting Tampa Bay, Toronto, Houston, and Tampa once again.
The series is set to begin on Tuesday at 7:05 PM with Gerrit Cole and Corey Kluber on the mound. Cole currently hosts a 3.63 ERA but is coming off arguably his worst performance as a professional, giving up five homers in 2.1 innings. Kluber has a 3.88 ERA over 55.2 innings, giving up seven homers and 55 hits.
Tampa Bay currently features a 35–25 record and have lost two of their last three games against the Minnesota Twins. If the Yankees can walk away with a series win, they will have created a double-digit cushion in the AL East. Currently, the Yankees sit 8.5 games above the Toronto Blue Jays and nine games above the Rays.
For the series’ final two games, the projected starting pitchers include Nestor Cortes/Shane McClanahan on Wednesday and Luis Severino/Drew Rasmusson on Thursday.
Considering the Yankees’ latest form, they are a tough opponent for any challenger. The sluggers will look to continue their streak of incredible production coming off an 18–4 whopping of the Chicago Cubs.