Wandy Peralta quickly becoming one of the Yankees' most reliable relievers

 

The Yankees have been the hottest team in baseball for a decent while now, extending their winning streak to 12 late last night in Oakland. The hitting has become more consistent with clutch at-bats taking place now that were missing earlier in the year. The starting pitching has been perhaps the biggest surprise, pitching as well as any other staff across the league, and that’s without Luis Severino and Corey Kluber.

 

Photo Credit: European Pressphoto Agency (EPA)

With that all being said, the relief pitching has been the most notable weakness of this team. They’ve blown more late-inning leads (11) than any other team in baseball in the second half and it’s more than just a one-man problem. Aroldis Chapman, arguably the most dominant closer of this generation along with Craig Kimbrel, is at the forefront of those problems but he’s not the only one. Chad Green and the usually dominant left-hander Zack Britton have had their fair share of extended issues on the mound. That’s where left-hander Wandy Peralta steps in.

 

The Yankees traded for the lefty back in April for fan-favorite outfielder Mike Tauchman. Tauchman’s gritty, energetic attitude is something fans felt couldn’t be replicated and were upset with the trade. A career 4.69 ERA before this season, Peralta has been nothing short of spectacular for the Yankees, especially during this resurgence period for the Yankees. His WHIP (1.10) and H/9 (7.4) have improved tremendously from his career averages along with a career-best 140 ERA+. His 4.48 FIP suggests he’ll eventually return closer to his career norms, but Yankee fans will certainly enjoy the ride while it lasts.

 

Upon his return from the COVID-19 IL, Peralta has not allowed an earned run. In the month of August, he’s pitched 11.2 innings while allowing 10 hits and more importantly, just one walk. Without his contributions, many of these close wins as of late could have very well been losses which would leave them on the outside-looking-in of the playoff picture. While Tauchman recently got DFA’d by the San Francisco Giants and has since been re-assigned to their triple-A squad, Peralta continues to build the trust of manager Aaron Boone. Peralta came into Tuesday’s game and got the biggest out of his season by getting perennial All-Star, and reigning NL MVP, first baseman Freddie Freeman to fly out. The final out left the bases loaded, dodging another ninth inning mess created by Aroldis Chapman.

 

With the struggles of nearly everyone else in the bullpen sans Jonathan Loaisiga, Peralta is quietly earning more high-leverage situations to pitch in. If he continues this success, the 30-year-old will have a late-inning role come the postseason. While the stars of the team have mostly led the team, Wandy Peralta has unequivocally been an unsung hero of the 2021 Yankees.

 
Article by: Spencer Schultz
 

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