The New York Yankees are riding high with a nine-game win streak as they move on to Houston, fresh from sweeping the improved Angels in Anaheim. The players on their way to the All-Star game in Minnesota are already in full bloom. Others have yet to garner the headlines, despite their contributions. This is their story.
We’ve stated numerous times it takes 25 players to win anything in this league. Some contribute more than others. A quick glance at the leaderboards as we enter the second month of the season finds a healthy dose of Yankees players, including Didi Gregorius, Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez (24 RBI) and even Miguel Andujar (11 doubles) sprayed throughout the lists of leaders.
However, if we take last night’s win against the Angels as an example, a check of the box score for the game reveals that contributions to the win came from sources in addition to Gary Sanchez’s monstrous 450 ft blast scoring two. A home run that needless to say received all the attention I saw in today’s recounting of the game.
But what about Ole Man River, CC Sabathia, who at 37 years of age is still trucking and turning in what appears to be effortless and clinic worthy performances nearly every time he makes a start for the Yankees? Seven innings, just one run surrendered, one walk, and two-thirds of his 97 pitches thrown for strikes.
It doesn’t get better than that, nor does the 1.71 ERA Sabathia has compiled thus far in 2018. A pitcher’s pitcher, Sabathia continues to amaze with his ability to register outs with no putaway stuff. Guile and know-how are his registered trademarks, and there is cause to wonder why the Yankees waited so long to sign Sabathia over the winter, even to the point of letting him play tag with the Blue Jays.
Look elsewhere in the boxscore, and you’ll find Chad Green, a strikeout machine who came in to pitch his usual scoreless eighth inning before making way for Aroldis Chapman to record his very quiet sixth save of the year.
Both Green and Chapman have stepped up in the absence of Tommy Kahnle and Adam Warren, who are both trying to get their injuries under control. The duo supports another unheralded cog in the Yankees bullpen machine, David Robertson, who in case we haven’t noticed has appeared in 14 games, striking out more than one per inning (again), along with a disappearing WHIP of less than one (0.767).
Lost in the shuffle too in the wake of Judge & Co is Gleyber Torres, who quietly has stepped into the Yankees lineup and is getting his one or two hits a night and batting .310. Albeit with no power, but he was never projected that way and besides, who cares?
Living on the outskirts of town has also been Tyler Austin, who is currently serving a four-game suspension that will first base to Neil Walker while the team is in Houston. Austin’s journey to the Yankees this season as their starting first baseman when Greg Bird went down surprised nearly everyone. But the man has produced and in a month or so will be challenging Bird for his job.
But it does well to recall that the MVP awarded to Giancarlo Stanton last season, though well deserved, did virtually nothing to put a dent in the Florida Marlin’s record. If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes 25 players to win a World Championship.
The Yankees are well on their way to forming a team designed to win, with contributions both big and small coming from everywhere. Brian Cashman will soon be engaged in fine-tuning the team. Trades are possible, even probable as he seeks to complement the team as he did last season, bringing in Todd Frazier & Co. to lead the charge with veteran leadership down the stretch.
But that’s two months from now, and the good news is the Yankees who don the pinstripes in the clubhouse have formed a team – emphasize team – designed to win now. And that’s precisely what they are doing.
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