The Yankees are notorious for having one of the oldest teams in the big leagues. For awhile now, they prefer to chase the aging superstar who has already proven himself in the league, rather than wait and develop their own players. Well some of those older players are now becoming injury-prone (C.C. Sabathia and Carlos Beltran), or not as effective as they used to be (Hiroki Kuroda, Alfonso Soriano, and Derek Jeter).
Let’s take a look at last night’s game. The way it played out, the Yankees are now seeing their combination for success this year: mix something old with something new. The Captain has struggled this year in both the field and at the plate. He has had a considerable dip in production, but turning 40, everyone could kind of see this coming. Before Tuesday’s game in Seattle, Jeter spoke about how he needs to do more out of the number two spot in the Yankees’ lineup. Last night, he did exactly that as he collected three hits including a tw- run single in the fourth inning. That is the production the Yankees need out of their shortstop at the top of their lineup.
To go along with something old, the Yankees flashed their something new with rookie right-hander Chase Whitley. Although not the most hyped prospect, Whitley has become a very reliable and good pitcher since making his Yankee debut back in mid-May. Last night, the 24-year-old was great again, as he threw a season-high 7.2 innings, while only allowing two runs on five hits. He continued his incredible command by not walking a batter for his fourth straight game, while striking out six.
Whitley isn’t the only young Yankee who is contributing to the Bombers. Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, John Ryan Murphy, Masahiro Tanaka, and Yangervis Solarte have all found success at certain points this season, some more than others. Their older components like Sabathia, Kuroda, Mark Teixeira, Soriano, and Jeter, all need to contribute this year if the Yankees want to succeed. Outside of Teixeira and recent starts from Kuroda, the Yankee veterans have been flat. Jeter’s big series in Seattle is a big sign to him turning it around. After the game, Joe Girardi spoke of Jeter’s hit.
“Another big night for Derek,’’ manager Joe Girardi told Kevin Kernan of The New York Post. “That hit to give us a cushion was a huge hit.’’
While we are used to Number 2 being the crutch of this team, and picking the team up when they need him the most, he can’t be expected to do it all on his own anymore. It’s nice to see him turning his season around at the plate, as Kuroda is turning his season around on the mound. With the dazzling youngsters Tanaka, Betances, Warren, and now Whitley, the Yankees are finding their stride with something old and something new.