Michael Kay said it best last night after the final out:
"It is GOOD to be a Yankee fan." pic.twitter.com/Ge8EmpEwFm
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) May 10, 2018
But what’s WILD about this 18-1 run we’re on right now (which has landed us the best record in baseball) is that there are PLENTY reasons this shouldn’t be happening. Which is something that leads me to believe that it can actually get better!
This took very little thinking and research (so I’m sure I’m missing some) but here are EIGHT reasons the Yankees shouldn’t be in first place right now:
- Another admittedly VERY talented team started 17-2. The truth is, we’re less than 40 games into a season and the Yankees opened up that first month pretty cold (both temperature of the games they were playing in, AND their play itself). So when a very good Red Sox team opens up the year HOT at 17-2 out of the gates, and you are playing .500 baseball during that time, it makes getting to the best record in baseball less than 20 games later all that much more impressive.
- Sanchez is batting .205. That isn’t exactly what you want out of the heads on your “three-headed monster”… Luckily, he’s is at least HAMMERING the ball when he does hit it every fifth at-bat and has NINE home runs.
- Sonny Gray has an ERA over 6. Not for nothing, but Sonny Gray was supposed to be a STUD when he was traded here late last year and honestly, I was a defender of Gray wholeheartedly last year… He had good numbers and really just got no run support. But an above 6 ERA is rough right now…
- The bullpen. In too many games, we see the starting pitching come out and the bullpen comes in, which used to be a no-brainer that Green/Kahnle/Robertson/Betances/Chapman would come in and finish the other team. But with Kahnle hurt (and when he wasn’t hurt, he wasn’t playing GREAT), Green & Robertson not being their normal LOCKDOWN selves, and Betances being… Well, Betances. The bullpen is no longer the lock that they were. Yes, Chapman has been solid, but we need the guys who hand him the ball to be a little better. Also, I swear Chasen Schreve lets up 2 runs minimum every game he gets in but somehow stats don’t show it, so I’m going to assume he LIVES off letting the guys before him take the earned runs and THEN he gets out of it.
- Gardner was ICE cold until lately. I am a HUGE Brett Gardner guy. I think his presence in the locker room alone is worth keeping him around for (and trust me, I’d love nothing more than to see Clint Frazier in the outfield)… But his sub-.200 start to the year was rough. Hopefully that’s just an aberration and he’ll get back to drawing walks and getting on base so the bigger bats can knock his speedy ass in, but 2018 has been a SLOW start for Gardy.
- Guys are/were hurt. With Jordan Montgomery, Tommy Kahnle, Brandon Drury, Greg Bird out and (to a lesser extent) Billy McKinney, Ben Heller, Luis Cessa, Ellsbury and Clint Frazier) there was actually a point where we were kinda just hoping and praying what we put out there was gonna work. We are getting lucky with our plug-and-plays like German on Sunday, or Andjuar playing exceptionally at 3rd. Shit, we put Shane Robinson out when we were in Fenway earlier in the year! But through all that it seems our subs are getting the job done AND SOME!!
- Strikeout Nation. We knew Stanton and Judge were going to be feast or famine at the plate, and it’s proving to be REALLY true thus far. Judge has a solid batting average at .308, but he’s still 4th in the league in strikeouts (48), whereas Stanton is only hitting .237 and is LEADING the league in strikeouts (54). I don’t know about you, but if you told me a team had the first and fourth MOST strikeout batters in the league, I’d say that team may be in some trouble. However, since Judge is at least hitting well (also 4th in the league in walks), it seems to not be THAT big an issue. Eyes emoji @ Stanton though, feel free to lit it up any time now.
- A-A-Ron isn’t (right now) what he can be. This isn’t me jumping to a wild “let’s get rid of Hicks” narrative. Not yet at least. The guy is a GREAT fielder and I am WELL aware that there were month-long stretches last year where Hicksy was our best hitter. I’ll be patient but he’s currently only batting .225 and he’s a WAY better hitter than THAT.
Guys, this is not me saying we suck – in fact, FAR from it. When all these things have gone wrong, BUT we still win – it’s actually incredibly impressive.
Just imagine how scary this team could be if these “problems” get solved. New York is an absolute monster team the entire MLB should be worried about.