October versatility is now the key
Jul 31, 2019 | 3141 views | 0 0 comments | 347 347 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For a Yankees team 29 games over the .500 mark and comfortably ahead in the American League East, one would think all would be well in Yankeeland.

But if you listened to callers on my shows on WFAN last week, you might wonder if the Yankees are 29 games over .500 or 29 under?

Look, the Yankees have had a dream season record-wise through four months.

However, last week’s deplorable pitching display was very alarming on a lot of different fronts.

Last week, the Yankees went up against two of the best lineups in the American League in the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox. Both are potential playoff opponents.

In six of the seven games, the Yankees did not have a starter make it into the sixth inning.

You name the Yankee starter, I’ll find you the subpar performance.

It was the sort of week that had Yankees fans up in arms about how general manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees should handle the days leading up to this year’s trade deadline.

Make no mistake, by conventional baseball setup, the Yankees starting pitching would be a major Achilles heel in the postseason.

The Yankees and Cashman are obviously smart enough to realize that multiple arms can be added to round out this roster, which will undoubtedly be taking the field in October.

However, the question is who? And will that arm be a legitimate difference maker to bolster a much-maligned rotation.

I dreamed the Yankees would make a play for Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants, but it appears that ship has sailed with the Giants rallying to play winning baseball in the second half and trying to contend for a wild card spot.

Trevor Bauer of the Cleveland Indians is talented, but has way too volatile a personality to be able to handle the bright lights and pressure of pitching in New York.

The team that has cornered the market for starting pitching is none other than the New York Mets.

With the Mets trading for Marcus Stroman and dangling Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard on the open market, it would appear both teams would be a match.

Well, except for that whole Yankees/Mets dynamic that makes a trade close to impossible to orchestrate.

Whoever it is, the Yankees will add to this pitching staff, both in the rotation and the bullpen.

Do I expect the Yankees to add that arm that definitively puts them over the top by this year’s trade deadline?

Probably not, odds are that pitcher won’t be available. However, the hope for a trip to the Fall Classic is not lost.

The Yankees have some capable starters currently on the roster, but the way manager Aaron Boone and the Yankees staff should handle the postseason is through a massive shift in old-school baseball philosophy.

The Yankees have utilized “the opener” - having a relief pitcher start the game - to great results in 2019. That strategy should be a part of the October blueprint.

Add as many arms as possible: starters, relievers, whoever. It could be Luis Severino and Dellin Betances returning from injury. It could be minor league phenom Deivi Garcia helping out.

And yes, pitchers imported at the trade deadline will be a part of this mix too.

The Yankees must get creative in finding a way to string together 27 outs a game in October. The old-school formula of four starters probably won’t be good enough.

This past week against the Twins and the Red Sox stressed that. Time to get creative, time to think outside the box. Stock the rotation with a ton of arms with a ton of versatility.

The Yankees will be playing postseason baseball, but the goal is to advance deeper in October.

A few reinforcements, a super deep pen and some New Age strategy will be the blueprint for success.

You can listen to me Thursday and Friday with Evan Roberts from 3 to 6:30 p.m. in for Mike Francesa, and Sunday from 2 to 6 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM. You can also watch me Wednesday on “The Thread” at 5 p.m. & Saturday on Geico Sportsnight at 11 p.m. on SNY.

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