You could take one look at the New York Yankees‘ situation and blame their offensive struggles on injuries and COVID absences. That’s the easy way out, however.
This lineup STILL has Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu and Joey Gallo. The starting rotation continues to keep them in every game possible, with top prospect Luis Gil the latest to dazzle and give the offense chance after chance after chance to simply … score one run. One. That’s it. Jameson Taillon registered another quality start on Monday night with no run support as well.
And just when you think it wasn’t possible to even manufacture the wildest of (more) bad news, the Yankees lost Gleyber Torres to the injured list with a sprained thumb AND Gio Urshela suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring issue, meaning he won’t return Wednesday … or this week.
Get used to seeing a skeleton crew lineup for even longer as the team waits for Gerrit Cole, Jordan Montgomery, Anthony Rizzo and Gary Sanchez to return from the COVID list.
That’s really not good because that means the entire left side of the infield is on the shelf simultaneously … and you can bet fans were hoping Gio’s bat rejoining the offense would help lengthen the lineup and help put an end to the lack of clutch hits and overall run production.
Yes, the Yankees won their series against the Mariners and took down the Royals in their series opener, but nobody will sit there and tell you they were encouraged with what they saw … unless they’re solely talking about the starting rotation.
The Yankees needed Gio Urshela to return but he’s now back on the shelf.
Let’s sum up the Yankees last five games. They’ve scored 21 runs across 49 innings and at one point didn’t score for 17 straight innings. Urshela might not be prolific in the RISP and two outs with RISP categories, but he’s best when it matters most.
In “late and close” situations, he’s hitting .340 with a .914 OPS in 53 at-bats. In “high leverage” situations, he’s hitting .375 with a 1.095 OPS in 72 at-bats. It’s clear the Yankees have been hurting for clutch runs to be scored … given their propensity to be entrenched in close games constantly.
Though Tyler Wade gave us a promising performance on Monday night at the hot corner, it’s clear he cannot remain there for long periods of time with a majority of his experience on defense coming in the middle infield, in addition to the fact that his bat might be the worst on the roster (though his speed on the base paths provides immense value).
And here we were holding out hope we’d see Wade at shortstop and Gio at third on Wednesday. That was supposed to be the “whew” situation after Gleyber’s injury news.
Rougned Odor at third base isn’t exactly a problem, but his error on Sunday, which would’ve easily been a routine play for Urshela, resulted in a Yankees loss. And if the Yankees’ top remaining figures on offense aren’t going to manufacture runs, then the defense and the fundamentals need to be pristine (they still aren’t).
That’s just another risk the Yankees will have to take after Urshela’s latest setback. If it’s not clear for you now, you’ll likely notice a stark difference when he’s back.