Injuries are a basic and detrimental facet of all sports leagues. They can affect everything, throwing off your momentum and derailing even the strongest team's title aspirations. The Yankees have fallen victim to the injury bug consistently this year, losing Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Miguel Andujar, and Gary Sanchez for various lengths of time.
That raises the question: how have they managed to be half a game back in the AL East after the slow start to the season? Well, there are many potential reasons.
For one, some superb hitting has been occurring. Gio Urshela has batted over .300 for most of the season, and his OPS is well above the league average. The same applies to DJ LeMahieu, who leads the team at .333 batting average. At the same time, even players that do not hit for average have done very well this season. Luke Voit already has 10 home runs this season, as has Gary Sanchez, even when both have struggled for average. It is a potent formula.
Role players have produced at times they were not expected to. But other factors apply here too.
Secondly, the pitching this season has been good for the most part. The Yankees have a good 3.9 ERA, which is good enough for 11th in the league. However, when it is just sorted by starter, the ERA drops to 3.62, good enough for 6th in the league, even as the bullpen is 19th in the league. The pitching has been great at home and decent away from it, which has helped. There might be other factors to consider, though.
As is the case in many leagues, a lot of other teams in the league got off to slow starts that the Yankees played against. An infamous one is the Red Sox, who started off very poorly, at one point being 6-13 when they lost to the Yankees. The Yankees also took advantage against teams that were on the decline or were just bad, such as the Royals, Giants, Orioles, and Angels, which have helped the team improve. The Yankees just built momentum.
Regardless, it is nice to see a team that has had so many injury concerns respond to that adversity in great style. If that will be sustained, I am unsure. The team could cool down, as can always happen, but they are 7-3 in their last ten games. I'm still glad to see it, and I hope to continue to see them improve across the board.
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