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Yankees Hot Corner – Train keeps rolling even with ice cold bats

The New York Yankees are 5-3 (technically 5-2 1/2) in their last eight despite the fact that pretty much no one in the lineup has hit.  Let’s put it this way;  the Yankees in the past week have scored more than four runs ONCE, in a 5-0 win over the Rays on Friday night.  The Yankees most recently split a semi-doubleheader with the Washington Nationals, the first a loss after a four inning game, and the latter a 4-2 win to salvage the split.

The starting pitching is there, the bullpen is most definitely there (we’ll get to that shortly) but the bats have been missing as of late.  Prior to Giancarlo Stanton’s single in Game 2 of Monday’s doubleheader, the Yankees hadn’t scored with RISP since June 15 against the Rays.  For a team that slugs a ton of home runs and always puts the ball in play, they’ve collectively look lost.

Pitching wins championships

An encouraging sign about this “slide” if you can even call it that is the fact that the starting pitching has been there when needed.  C.C. Sabathia started it off on Tuesday with a masterful shutout performance against the Nationals and a ten strikeout performance on Sunday in a losing effort.  A little bad luck and a very poorly hit home run was Sonny Gray’s demise on Wednesday, but his encouraging performance on Monday bodes well going forward.

Luis Severino was brilliant once again in a 4-1 win over the Rays on Saturday, and a pair of youngsters got their first major league wins.  Jonathan Loaisiga pitched five shutout innings and looked very comfortable in his first Major League start.  Domingo German was excellent also last Thursday, with another young kid Gleyber Torres bailing him out with a three-run home run to give him the win.  All five pitchers recorded quality starts throughout the week, and it’s a good sign that if the big bats aren’t producing, the starting pitching can pick them up.

The bullpen is the key

During this streak of games, the bullpen, more specifically Jonathan Holder and Dellin Betances, has been lights out for the Bronx Bombers.  While David Robertson and Aroldis Champan have been good (and always dangerous), Betances and Holder have been literally lights out.

Betances has given up zero runs in his past 11 innings pitched with 20 strikeouts.  Holder, since being called back up in April, has pitched 22 innings with zero earned runs and 21 strikeouts.  Holder was able to squeeze himself out of a first and third with zero outs jam to solidify the Yankees’ win Monday night.

Chad Green has been good, but he did give up the game winning home run to the Nationals on Monday evening.  Green made a mistake to Juan Soto, who seems to have the Yankees’ number as he has three home runs in four games, two of them moonshots.  Regardless of Green’s recent performance, he is still a key part of this bullpen and when Tommy Kahnle comes back, the Yankees will have five or six legitimate bullpen arms for the playoffs.

Bats have gone cold, but Giancarlo heating up

It may be one of those one game mirages, but Giancarlo Stanton finally seems to be heating up.  He had four hits in Monday night’s victory and looks extremely comfortable at the plate.  Aaron Hicks also looks much better, blasting a two-run home run and a double.  As for everyone else?  Well Gary Sanchez is still batting under .200 despite a promising few days.  Gleyber Torres’ magic has worn off a bit as he’s chasing pitches out of the strike zone.  Miguel Andujar is two for his last 22 and looks lost out there.

Guys like Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, and Didi Gregorius have chipped in somewhat, but they are striking out at an astronomical pace.  It’s expected considering how many sluggers there are on this team, but it’s concerning if the Yankees are looking to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Regardless of how poorly the offense has performed over the past few days, the Bombers are still over .500 for the week and their pitching is picking them up.  They currently have a 1.76 ERA in their past 11 games, and the offense will come with time.  For now, we just need to enjoy the ride that could be a magical Yankees season.

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