State of the Yankees after Series Win Over Dodgers

State of the Yankees after Series Win Over Dodgers
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

State of The Yankees Through 60 Games

The New York Yankees headed west this weekend to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers for one of their biggest tests of the year thus far. After taking 2/3 from one of the NL’s best, here are some thoughts on the State of the Yankees roughly 60 games into the season.

Keep Aaron Judge Healthy

It is no secret that as Aaron Judge goes, so do the Yankees. Since 2021, The Yankees are 212-142 with Judge in the lineup, compared to just 15-16 when he doesn’t play. Judge spent 10 days on the IL earlier this season and is now facing another injury scare. After making an incredible catch in Saturday’s game, where he ran into a gate in right field, Judge suffered a toe injury, keeping him out of the lineup in Sunday’s series finale. Judge will get further testing Monday when the Yankees return home with hopes he can avoid another IL stint.

Lean on the Arms

Even with Frankie Montas and Carlos Rodon not throwing a pitch this season, Luis Severino missing the first 2 months, Nestor Cortes Jr. regressing significantly and multiple bullpen injuries, the Yankees pitching has still held up its end of the bargain. To this point, they have allowed the 7th fewest runs per game and lead the league in bullpen ERA at 2.86. While Cortes Jr. went on the IL yesterday, the pitching staff should be getting reinforcements as the season rolls on. Rodon, the Yankees prized free agent signing will face live batters for the first time since his injury on Wednesday, making an early July return a real possibility. Tommy Kahnle returned during the Dodgers series, Montas has started a throwing program and Jonathan Loáisiga should begin throwing soon. If the Yankees head into September and eventually October with the majority of their pitching staff intact, an argument can be made that top to bottom they have the best pitching in Baseball.

Take Advantage of the Schedule

To this point, the Yankees have played the hardest schedule in all of Baseball. From here on out they will play the 9th easiest schedule including a very favorable next few weeks here in June. The Yankees have a series with the lowly Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics this month as well as two against the Boston Red Sox, who have been hovering around .500 all season. If they can take advantage of the schedule and win the games they should, they can jump back into the AL East race.

Get Healthy

The Yankees have kept up with their theme of the past few seasons this year by racking up the injuries. Harrison Bader is now on his second IL stint, Judge may be joining him soon. Giancarlo Stanton missed a month. Rodon and Montas still have not pitched this season. Severino missed two months. Loáisiga has not pitched since April. Jose Trevino spent 10 days on the shelf, Josh Donaldson missed more than a month. Nestor Cortes Jr. just went on the IL. These are not just your average players missing a week or two, these are some of the Yankees’ best missing extended amounts of time. If they get everyone back in the fold, they are still as dangerous as any team at full strength.

Trust Anthony Volpe

Rookie SS Anthony Volpe has come under fire recently for his underwhelming performance thus far. While Volpe has struggled, particularly the last month it is important to keep things in perspective. Yankee fans were clamoring for Volpe to make the team all Spring, despite him essentially skipping Triple-A. Volpe just turned 22, is still developing, and has found ways to contribute despite his recent struggles. Here are some of Volpe’s rankings among Major League shortstops to this point:

  • Games (1st)
  • HR (T- 4th)
  • RBI (T-8th)
  • SB (T-4th)
  • FWAR (14th)

Volpe has still found a way to be positive despite his low batting average and high strikeout rate. It is also essential to keep in mind that Volpe has been known as a slow starter throughout his minor league career. Last year at Double-A, Volpe hit .202 with an OPS of .681 from opening day until June 3. From June 4 until his call-up to Triple-A in September he hit .279 with an OPS of .902. Volpe is a top prospect for a reason and the Yankees should trust him to figure things out at the big league level, rather than panicking and sending him down which could mess with his long-term development.

All in all the Yankees are 36-25 despite a plethora of injuries and playing the toughest schedule in the league. If they get healthy and beat up on the weaker schedule the rest of the way they will be right where they need to be heading into October. In a wide-open American League, this could be a chance to break through and win their first pennant since 2009.

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Evan Kelly

Senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst studying Finance. Covering the Yankees for SportRelay.com

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