Three wins in four games later, the Yankees did what they needed to do against the Orioles.
Even after Thursday’s heartbreaking 9-6 walk-off loss, the Bronx Bombers still have the best record in baseball. More good news, the Yankees still have a comfy five-game lead in the American League East. Better news, the team is strong as ever ahead of a weekend tilt with the White Sox.
Banged-up Chicago should prove another series win for the Yankees, particularly with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton running hot. Based on the Baltimore series, New York should keep rolling so long as a few concerns are addressed quickly.
Let Judge and Stanton do their thing. This isn’t so much a concern as it is a straight baseball fact. Judge is playing like it’s his contract year and Stanton, per usual, is one of the most dangerous bats in the game. Judge would have had a three-homer night on Tuesday if not for Baltimore’s new ugly left field wall and hit .416 in the series. Stanton, meanwhile, hit .363 and was robbed of a home run on account of wall too.
Headed back to Yankee Stadium’s standard dimensions, expect the new version of the Bash Brothers to keep it up.
The Aaron Hicks problem. The Yankees are running out of time before they’ll need to actually address just how bad Aaron Hicks has been. The switch-hitting center fielder is batting under .100 in May and just looks lost both at bat and in the field. Hicks also struck out three times on Thursday, including once with the bases loaded.
A trade isn’t coming thanks to the four years and $40 million remaining on Hicks’ deal, including this season. But with Judge manning center with ease on some nights and outfield prospect Estevan Florial swinging a hot bat in the minors, general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone certainly have some hard decisions ahead.
Chad Green’s injury isn’t the end. Green wasn’t particularly sharp Thursday and left the game injured with two chilling words: forearm tightness. Between this and young flamethrower Luis Gil’s elbow trouble, the Yankees have quite the bullpen hole to fill. Green has posted 11.58 strikeouts per nine innings for his career and his blazing fastball makes him near untouchable when he’s at his best.
But the Yankees will be fine even if he’s out for an extended period of time. Building bullpens from scratch is Cashman’s bread and butter and he’ll fill the void almost effortlessly. Keep in mind, veteran righty Shelby Miller has a 2.70 ERA at Triple-A Scranton, or maybe this is the cue to turn Deivi Garcia into a reliever.
One way or another, the Yankees bullpen will survive the Chicago series and beyond just fine without Green.