1. Their vaunted bullpen
Yankee fans have longed for a setup/closer tandem in the mold of Mariano Rivera and John Wetteland for quite some time, and they most certainly have it with Dellin Betances setting up Andrew Miller.
Miller, with 26 saves and a 2.20 ERA, has allowed only 22 hits in 41 innings pitched this season, striking out 61 batters in those 41 innings, putting together a minuscule WHIP of 0.88. Betances, who spelled Miller while he recovered from a forearm tightness ailment that sidelined him for a month, accumulated 7 saves of his own, with a 1.19 ERA and 0.85 WHIP who, over 60 2/3 innings pitched, has struck out an ungodly 96 batters, good for a 14.2 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate. His ERA+ (an ERA figure that accounts for ballparks) is a blistering 328. Betances has managed a WAR of 3.0, the best of any Yankee pitcher, starter or reliever.[su_youtube_advanced url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieS_BYYsQAo”]
The Yankees also rely on Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson in relief (with a 1.96 and 2.55 ERA respectively), with both combining to strike out 93 batters over 88 1/3 innings and a collective 177 ERA+. The Yanks also have options at long relief in Adam Warren when the rotation is at full strength.
With Tanaka, Nova, Pineda, and Severino capable of throwing six innings plus in their starts, the Yankees can shorten the game with the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings capably handled by an exemplary bullpen.
New York certainly has the majors’ best band of relievers, an enviable commodity that could end up costing playoff hopefuls like the Twins, Rangers, and Dodgers in the long run. Such a luxury may only get stronger at the waiver deadline should Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman come to the Bronx in support of the Yankees’ best piece that gives them a huge advantage over the Jays and Orioles in pursuit of the AL East crown, which would be their unprecedented nineteenth in franchise history.