Yankees preparing to get back key utility man ahead of Braves series

dj lemahieu, yankees
Apr 22, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees pinch hitter DJ LeMahieu (26) celebrates after hitting a game winning RBI single in the ninth inning to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a challenging season for New York Yankees veteran utilityman DJ LeMahieu. Throughout the year, the 35-year-old has recorded a .240 batting average with a .315 OBP, contributing eight home runs, 29 RBIs, and a 91 wRC+.

However, LeMahieu’s strikeout rate has seen a significant increase, jumping from 13.1% last year to 22.7%. Although he is experiencing one of his least productive seasons offensively, he started to show signs of improvement after the All-Star break.

LeMahieu’s Comeback: July and August Performance

In July, LeMahieu achieved a .247 batting average with a .359 OBP, amassing 19 hits and 14 walks across 77 at-bats. August began with a red-hot streak for LeMahieu, as he registered a .364 average and a .440 OBP over 22 at-bats, including eight hits and three walks, along with a .895 OPS.

Defensive Prowess: Taking Over Third Base

Since Josh Donaldson was sidelined for the season with a calf injury, LeMahieu has assumed the third base position. The veteran infielder’s defensive play has been remarkable, with 578.2 innings logged this year, boasting a .994 fielding percentage, two defensive runs saved, and three outs above average. Although his offense has faltered, LeMahieu has proven to be an invaluable asset on defense.

Yankees’ Current Standings: A Devastating Loss and Upcoming Series

Following a heartbreaking defeat against the Miami Marlins, LeMahieu expressed his desire to rejoin his team, though management opted to keep him out for an additional day. “In my mind, I was ready to go today,” said LeMahieu on Sunday morning, implying a readiness for the next game.

The Yankees now face a daunting three-game series against the Atlanta Braves, who are on a positive streak with a 75–42 record this year and victories in five of their last seven games.

Pitching Matchup: Max Fried vs. Clarke Schmidt

The Braves will feature Max Fried on the mound against Clarke Schmidt on Monday night. Fried’s impressive 2.50 ERA over 36 innings underscores his status as one of baseball’s elite pitchers when healthy. The Yankees’ Bombers will need to overcome this challenging matchup if they hope to climb back in the Wild Card standings. Winning this series against one of baseball’s best teams will be vital in their pursuit of success.

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