The Yankees enter the season with questionable starting pitching. Okay, we get that. But to win, they just need to score more runs than the other team.
The Yankees undoubtedly are familiar with the baseball rulebook which says that the team scoring the most runs wins the game. And just as in football where a team has a crushing offense but a porous defense, the offense needs to compensate for the overall deficiency.
For the Yankees, that means having an offense that is just not capable of scoring runs, but one that delivers five to seven runs a game on a regular basis, and especially when someone not named Masahiro Tanaka isn’t pitching.
The Abysmal Yankees Offense In 2016
Last season, the team finished 20th out of 30 teams with 680 runs scored, which is a tick above four runs per game. And in fact, it was their pitching (14th in the league) that held the team together, enabling them to finish five over for the season.
The Yankees can expect that both Boston and Toronto will be run-producing machines in 2017. Add to that, the fact that the Red Sox have strengthened their starting pitching with the addition of Chris Sale and the possibility of a Cy Young season from Steven Wright, and you have the makings of a season self-imploding if the Yankees can’t score more runs.
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Fortunately, the lineup is much improved over last year with the addition of Gary Sanchez for a full-year, a healthy and demonstrative Greg Bird, and an Aaron Judge who just may have learned a lesson from last year’s collapse with a rash of strikeouts.
Mid-season additions to the lineup from the likes of Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier also point towards a brighter future for the Bombers if they can hold their own during the early months of the season.
It’s been stated more than once that the veterans need to carry their weight in the lineup, and if they can, the team will outscore their opponents on a regular basis. But that means Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, and Chase Headley can be the same trio they were last season.
Even Joe Girardi, who doesn’t often place pressure on his veterans, said yesterday that the team’s fortunes rest more on the veterans stepping up than anywhere else in the lineup.
Yankees Preparing For A Rollercoaster Ride
There will be days this season when Michael Pineda or Luis Severino turn in a six-inning masterpiece allowing two earned runs and striking out nine using less than 100 pitches. And they’ll be followed by the formidable tandem of Tyler Clippard, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman that results in a textbook style win 4-2 for the team.
The team must excel offensively to stay with the pack. And there can’t be two ways around it.
But it’s likely that there will be far more days when neither Pineda or Severino can get out of the fourth inning, while giving up five earned runs, with four walks, and exceeding 90 pitches that result in the end of their day.
There’s Help On The Way, But…..
And once again, there’s pitching help on the way with Jordan Montgomery, Chad Green, James Kaprielian, Chance Adams, and possibly even Justus Sheffield being ready to step in to save the season and the chance to make the Playoffs.
But for now, the pitching is what it is. And the team must excel offensively to stay with the pack. And there can’t be two ways around it.
The team this year is built to score runs at a rapid and decisive pace, perhaps even to the extent of challenging the Red Sox who seem to have a grip on that stat every year. Doing it on the field, however, is another matter.
The Yankees are showing their fans a lot during this Preseason. But there's more to come and the opportunity to play baseball is a real possibility.
If this lineup can produce with the potential it is capable of, look out Boston because here comes the Bronx Bombers to upset your little apple cart you think you’ve got going in 2017.