What has gotten into the New York Yankees?

The New York Yankees have essentially completely transformed themselves here in the second half of the season. Since they were 41-41 (1 more game than halfway through the 162-game season) the Bombers are 29-11 giving them the best record in the league over that span. 

Photo Credit: Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

The best part of this run for the Yanks is that they haven’t even been doing this with their full powered team. Due to COVID issues along with other injuries, some of the biggest impacts have come from replacement guys. 

Not just replacement players are helping the Bombers win and pencil themselves back into the playoff picture, but also guys that are just unexpected. Guys that were not expected to have the kind of impact that they have but are producing.

Photo Credit: Paul Sancya/AP Photo

The first and maybe most importantly (definitely the most fun), is Nestor Cortes Jr. Nasty Nestor has been very strong out of the bullpen and also as a starter when needed, the latter of which has been his role for a few weeks to this point. Now has been one of those times when he has been needed, and has been effective coming out of the gate. Pitching to a 2.55 ERA so far this season, he has struck out 53 batters in his 40 innings pitched. The funky motions and the GREAT moustache have been a huge factor to getting Yankee fans excited with the team lately.

Two other guys that I definitely want to highlight that have more or less been splitting time. Those two are Tyler Wade and Andrew Velazquez. Tyler Wade has been around the Yankees for a while now, he can almost be called a staple to the roster. Wade has been red hot as of late. In the last 2 weeks, Wade is slashing .462/.517/.538. Add in 5 stolen bases and 5 runs, he has been very productive throughout this recent playoff push. He also adds in great defense when needed, and perhaps more importantly, at multiple positions. Velazquez has not been as prominent at the plate, but has had his moments for sure. The two-RBI single the other day against the Red Sox that gave the Yanks the lead in the first game of the eventual double-header sweep was the biggest one. His defense has been spectacular at shortstop; a phenomenal game ending sliding stop and throw on Wednesday night was by far his best showing of defense this season.

Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg (NY Post)

The expected contributors have been doing their jobs as well. Aaron Judge has been heating up as of late, as well as Giancarlo Stanton and Joey Gallo. Brett Gardner has put in his clutch moments. Chad Green is starting to figure it out in the bullpen again (albeit still subject to the occasional long ball), and Gerrit Cole came back from the COVID IL going 5.2 with 9 Ks in the Yanks' 2-1 victory over the Angels on Monday. 

Simply put, the Yankees are back. They continue to win, and guys are still coming back from the IL and COVID IL. You can only expect the Yankees to continue as they keep getting big names joining the lineup and pitching staff every day. Fresh off a sweep over the Red Sox, taking over the second wild card spot in the AL, the Yanks look towards a big 4-game series against the Twins at the stadium this weekend, getting off to a hot start with a 7-5 victory last night. The train keeps rolling.

Article by: Matt Zumbolo


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