The 2016 Yankees team is a team that is both young and old. Their pitching has both tons of talent and questions marks. Their offense is both talented and paid handsomely, while also experienced. They don’t seem to have a true identity though as was mentioned by Jason Keidel on CBS New York. But I think they CAN have an identity and it blends both the top and bottom of the lineup.
I wrote last April how the Yankees do with Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. When the speedsters get on base and score runs, the Yankees win. It proved true over several parts of the season, and as they struggled, so did the ball club, (look at August and September.) The starting rotation doesn’t really provide the Yankees with an identity like say, the Mets, and their bullpen will be great but right now is not at its peak due to injury and suspension.
For the Yankees to be successful, the top, Ellsbury and Gardner, and the bottom, Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro, must mold together and make it happen.
That seems to be happening, as Casey stated the other day on Twitter:
I am freaking LOVING the Castro, Gregorius combo right now #BYB— Robert Casey (@BleednYankeeBlu) April 7, 2016
Castro came out in a ball of fury and several fans were already saying ‘Thank goodness they didn’t resign Cano’ and ‘We actually have a second baseman.’ I agree with those statements for sure. I believe he was a terrific acquisition, and we all definitely do now, who fits a need and will be a great asset as the Yankees get younger.
The top has to get on base and give the boppers, ARod, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, a chance to drive them in. Those guys will have some big hits and hit plenty of home runs over the season. Without Ellsbury, Gardner and Aaron Hicks, who should play quite a bit, on base though, those towering home runs are just solo shots. Great, yes, but two and three run shots are a heck of a lot better.
The bottom two, Castro and Sir Didi, the start of the youth movement in the infield, will also have to produce in both the RBI department and the on-base department. If those two can turn the lineup over to Ellsbury and Gardner, followed by the meat of the order, good things will happen.
The rotation has some talent and will keep the Yankees in plenty of games, but they are inevitably going to have rough starts, everyone will. Look at Michael Pineda on Wednesday. He did not have his best stuff and left some sliders in the heart of the plate. A very young and talented Houston Astros took advantage and put up six runs on eight hits against him. But the offense was not going to let the Astros stay in the game. No way, no how. Look at Nathan Eovaldi. He was similar yesterday, but the Yankee offense kept them in the game. Read MOMENTUM FOR OUR NEW YORK YANKEES for more.
The team will win games with pitching and will win games with the offense, including the home run, but without the top and the bottom getting on and coming together to turn the lineup over, they are not going to score many runs. When they do come together though, look out.
On Wednesday, the one, two, eight and nine hitters combined to go 8-17 with four walks, five runs and five RBI. Those types of performances will sure help win some ballgames!
We all know it takes 25 men, plus plenty of call ups and acquisitions, to win over the course of a long 162 game schedule. Some games will be 2-1 wins and loses while others will be offensive battles, with some great comebacks and blown opportunities along the way.
But if the top and bottom can flow together and allow opportunities for the guys who get paid a ton of money to drive them in, the team will be successful more often than not. That could be the identity we are looking for.