The New York Yankees have punched their ticket to the 2020 MLB Postseason. As the season winds down, there have been quite a few noticeable takeaways from these games down the stretch. Here are my 5 takeaways from the last few games.
1- JA Happ could become a Postseason starter
In the second half of the 2020 season, JA Happ has looked magnificent. Happ has boasted a 3.47 ERA for this season, which is fairly solid. Happ has looked very good in his last handful of starts, including his most recent outing vs the Red Sox. He went 8 innings giving up 4 hits, no runs, and racking up 9 K’s. Don’t be surprised in Game 3 of the Wild Card series if you see him on the mound for the Yankees vs a powerful Twins or White Sox lineup.
2- Gary Sanchez may be losing the starting catcher job to Kyle Higashioka
Admit it, Gary Sanchez has been abysmal for the Yankees this season. He is batting .152 with 10 Home Runs and only 21 hits in a total of 148 at-bats so far this season. His defense has been subpar as well. Higashioka on the other hand has been swinging a red hot bat of late, batting .250 with 4 home runs and 12 hits through 47 at-bats. Remember, Higgy was injured for a portion of this season but has been red hot since his return, including a 3 home run game against the Blue Jays. Also, he has become a “personal catcher” for Gerrit Cole, who has had a 1.00 ERA through 27 innings with Higashioka behind the plate. Higgy is also a better defender and is quicker and more agile behind the plate compared to Sanchez. It is pretty much a lock that you will be seeing Higashioka catch Cole during Game 1 of the Wild Card series. It is possible that we will be seeing Higashioka quite a bit this postseason.
3- Gerrit Cole has turned into the dominant Cole the Yankees paid for
Over his last 3 starts, Gerrit Cole has been phenomenal. Cole has been working super well with Higgy behind the plate rather than Sanchez. Cole has given up a total of 2 runs through 21 innings. He has looked dominant, no question about it. The offense also has been giving him large run support, boosting his confidence on the mound. He has shut down the Orioles and the Blue Jays twice in his last three starts, with Kyle Higashioka behind the plate all three of those games. Heading into the Postseason, the Cole Train is gaining tons of momentum, exactly where we need him the most.
4- Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton need to be more consistent
The Bronx Bash Bros have returned from injury, and they both haven’t been very consistent at the plate. For example, Judge went 3-5 on Tuesday night with an RBI but has gone 0-5 with one walk over the last two games since then. Judge is also yet to hit a homer since his return from the IL. On the other hand, Giancarlo Stanton came out swinging since his return but has cooled down since. On September 17th against the Blue Jays, (his second game off the IL), he went 4-5 with a Home Run and two RBI’s. Since that game, he has gone 2-19 with 2 walks and 9 strikeouts. I can see both of them bouncing back during this final series of the regular season against the Marlins, hopefully getting hot just in time for the playoffs.
5- Luke Voit and DJ LeMahieu are MVP caliber players
Luke Voit and DJ LeMahieu have had exceptional seasons carrying the team when many players were out with injury. Voit leads the league in Home Runs with 21 at the moment, and he is batting .283 on the season. LeMahieu continues to be the monster that he was last season, leading the AL with a .348 batting average. He usually comes through with runners in scoring position. DJ also hits for contact and has a great eye at the plate, making him a very tough out. Not to mention he is also a very talented fielder. Both are putting together stellar seasons heading into the Postseason. Voit and LeMahieu must keep setting an aggressive tone for the Yankees lineup.