Yankees’ playoff hopes hinge on answering bullpen question

Aaron and No. 99 home runs Friday night. Neither were beaten by Aaron Judge (it was Hicks and Boston’s Alex Verdago).

The Yankees and Red Sox hit five combined home runs on Saturday. No one was hit by the judges.

It’s easy for Judges to hit a home run in 2022, but it’s not easy.

“A lot of things have to go deep, even with the best of the best,” another Aaron, Boone, said after the game. Yankees beat Red Sox 7-5.

Judge had more than 60 home runs in 18 plate appearances in four games.Each up generates anticipatory murmurs, “MVP” chants, and complete silence as the pitch is delivered, exhaling a breath of nervous energy combined with joyful anticipation with every swing he makes.

Roger Maris’ history of trying to break the AL and Yankees record of 61 home runs has (understandably) focused analysis and emotion on every pitch. No detail is too small when something very big is being chased (wind, shadows, are the Red Sox throwing it over a plate?).

But in real time, the most pertinent question of whether the Yankees will make history as a team isn’t a question of the judges, it’s that Boone is still making decisions about his bullpen in 151 games of the season. Relief auditions are held in 11 games. They face difficult choices. You can come as early as Sunday.

From left: Zach Britton, Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Royshiga, Clay Holmes
From left: Zach Britton, Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Royshiga, Clay Holmes
AP; NY Post: Charlie Wenzelberg.Michelle Farsi and Corey Shipkin

Miguel Castro completed his rehab duties with a shutout inning at Triple-A on Friday. The Yankees may decide not to bring him back if they don’t see him in a postseason role as he will be a free agent after the season and have no intention of re-signing. , Clark Schmidt, or Lou Trivino. But all play a role in the postseason. So does Lucas Lütge, who in theory could be released.

This brings us to Aroldis Chapman. The Yankees are at least considering whether or not to nominate him. If anything — whether his erratic performances and control are credible enough to put him on the postseason roster..if not, he’s also a free agent after the season and hopes of a reunion. I have no plan.

Yankees officials did not want to address this publicly. But it’s inside a buffet of choices. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced Thursday that he will fire Craig Kimbrel as a closer this late without a clear plan for how he will use it going forward. Chapman, Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen are the standout relief pitchers of the era, and Jansen retains his job closing for the Braves, but Raisel has been asked to leave it to Iglesias. Having the best team in the majors, the Dodgers, and defending his champion Braves in bullpen uncertainty shows that the Yankees aren’t alone.

Still, the Yankees have taken the lead in four of their last five games, starting in the sixth. (One of them is by Gerrit Cole, which raises another concern.) They win every time. They have 16 walk-off victories, five more than any other team and tied for the Yankees’ most. They have had at least 13 walk-off victories in six seasons, playing in the World Series each time and winning five. However, they tied for his MLB lead with his 10 walk-off losses, his most since 1988.

Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis Chapman
Robert Sabo

They’re the Cardiac Yankees, and their pen is heart-wrenching to their fans. In contrast to recent Chapman, Derin Betances, and Andrew Miller, this is no strikeout pen (especially since the loss of Michael King). The 2014 ’16, ’17, ’18, ’19, and ’21 Yankees Penn ranks in the top 30 for the highest strikeout rate ever. This (24.3%) is his 12th in the 2022 majors.

Ground ball club (major 1st place). The ball is in play. The Yankees defense is great at supporting this, but pitching his coach Matt his Blake said: Much like managing contacts. Ultimately, you need to keep players away from the bases and not let them slug the ball, which can be a problem when the ball is in play in the 9th inning. “

In his first outing since having elbow surgery in September 2021, Zach Britton walked three of the five batters he faced Saturday. His speed and movement were good. Can he gain enough control and be a factor between now and the postseason?Scott Efros is 0-2 on his pitch in his first outing from Illinois. He loaded the bases in the ninth inning, including hits, hits, and walks. However, he escaped.

Boone and Blake expect the more volatile Clay Holmes and Jonathan Roaisiga in the final six outs, with Efros and Wandy Peralta (who is away from IL in the final series) being the main late game pieces. But nothing is set.

“It’s an opportunity for someone to play a more important role in the future,” Boone said.

11 games left. His 11 games with Judge hitting a historic home run and the Yankees trying to script the postseason.

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