Following a six-game win streak which included a no-hitter tossed by Corey Kluber, a triple play, and two walk-offs, the New York Yankees finally dropped their first game in a week, but that was the least of concerns for the Yankees.
Kluber also left the game after three innings and 58 pitches with shoulder tightness. He clearly did not have the command he had in his no-hitter last week. Kluber did emphasize that what he felt yesterday was fatigue as compared to last year when he actually felt pain after leaving a game where he tore his teres major muscle.
Following his no-hitter, he looked like he was back to his Cy Young form. For now, we have to wait and see how serious his injury is.
Despite the loss and Kluber’s injury, there is still plenty of reason for optimism surrounding the Yankees’ play recently.
The rotation as a whole
Yes, Kluber being injured hurts the team, but we don’t know the extent of the injury or if he will have to miss any time. Regardless, until yesterday, the rotation went 37.1 innings without giving up an earned run, the second-longest streak in franchise history. In this stretch, four of the starters pitched at least seven innings. Jameson Taillon is the only starter who did not go at least seven innings.
The one thing the Yankees have not had in recent years is consistent starting pitching and after a rocky start in April, it has been coming together so far in May. In April, the rotation ranked 12th in the league in WHIP, 10th in ERA- and 9th in FIP- and 17th in total innings pitched (1.18, 91, 86, and 128.1 respectively).
So far in May, the rotation has seemingly come together. The team now ranks 2nd in WHIP (0.98), 4th in ERA- (69), 2nd in FIP- (76). They lead the entire league in innings pitched at 130.1.
The Yankees are in wait-and-see mode with Kluber, but even if he needs to miss some time. They have plenty of arms who are ready to step up and make an impact. Michael King, Deivi Garcia are two immediate names that come to mind. Luis Gil has also looked sharp early on in AA, but he still needs more time before the Yankees consider calling him up.
Judge has quietly been having his best season since 2017. He leads the team in games played and in those games, he’s performing. So far, he’s slashing .308/.409/.566, a .975 OPS, his best since 2017 with a 25.8K%, his lowest in his career. Also, he has a 172 wRC+, which ranks as the fifth-best in the league.
With injuries to Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, and Luke Voit so far this year, Judge has been a staple like he is always is.
Stanton and Britton will return soon
While the Yankees were on their winning streak, they did without Stanton who was placed on the IL last week with a quad strain. He should be returning the lineup by the weekend and Zack Britton will reportedly begin his rehab assignment this weekend.
Zack Britton will throw a bullpen tomorrow and then start his rehab on Saturday with @SOMPatriots, Aaron Boone said.
The Yankees will be getting some much-needed firepower back in the lineup and bullpen very soon. If the rotation keeps it up, and then a team has to get through Britton and Aroldis Chapman as well, then runs will be at a premium for any opposing teams.
The difference in the teams play from April to May is night and day. They have won seven straight series and will look to continue that the next two games against Toronto.
The rotation has been lights outgoing at least seven innings in four straight games last week and the bullpen has been stellar for the most part as well.
They have been playing some of their best baseballs in May and with these two guys set to return very soon, we may not have even seen this team’s full potential yet.