Connect with us

New York Yankees

Does winning 50 games so soon guarantee a Yankees World Series title in 2018?

Larry Fleisher

Published

on

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

If you looked up the scores and saw the Yankees beat the Mariners, you might shrug your shoulders and go, “Oh they won again, no big deal.” Well, it was a significant win. Thursday’s 4-3 win was their 50th of the year and it’s not even July 1. It occurred in their 72nd game, which among the quickest in team history they’ve reached the 50-win point.

According to a tweet by Katie Sharp the Yankees reached 50 wins this quickly in the following years: 1998, 1953, 1939, 1936, 1932, 1928 and 1927.

What is the commonality of those years? Simple, those account for seven of the 27 World Series titles won by the Yankees.

So, does 50 wins this soon foreshadow a World Series title?

The answer is varied.

For example, the last two champions reached 50 wins before July 1. The Astros needed 74 games to reach 50 wins while the Cubs took 76 games to get there.

Also, the 2013 Red Sox reached the 50-win point this early in their 84th game to end June 2013 but then there’s a long stretch of champions hitting the milestone in July.

Until the Red Sox did it, the last team to do so was the 2005 Chicago White Sox, who are the last champion to win 50 of their last 72 games. Unlike the Yankees, the White Sox were already 10 1/2 games up and they eventually fended off a late charge by the Cleveland Indians.

In 1998, the Yankees reached the 50-win point in only 67 games and were nine up on the Red Sox.

As expected, the Yankees were downplaying the milestone, which is what you would expect. It might not lead to a title, but it certainly is a good sign for a team who has been showing good things all season.

Larry is a longtime writer/editor with over a decade of experience writing about numerous sports for ESPN/SportsTicker, Metro New York Newspaper, AP and the Sports Xchange. Larry has followed the Yankees for media outlets since 2005 and watched them since the early 1990s when the team wasn't any good. Larry also works from time to time in television production on NBA broadcasts. When not writing, editing or podcasting or researching statistics, Larry can be found on social media @larryfleisher

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

New York Yankees

Yankees year in review | The starting pitchers

Matt Gregory

Published

on

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Yankees Year in Review. This is the third of four parts looking at each position group for the Yankees. This week, it’s the starting rotation’s turn.

If you had to pick one weakness of the Yankees in 2018, it would have to be the starting rotation. Going into the season, it looked like this:

Luis Severino
Masahiro Tanaka
Sonny Gray
CC Sabathia
Jordan Montgomery

Much like the infield, this is not what the rotation looked like by year’s end. That is not surprising, starting rotations rarely survive a whole year without injuries or poor performance. There was some good and some bad, let’s start with the bad.

The fifth starter was a rotating door, as the Yankees lost Jordan Montgomery after six starts to an elbow strain. That would eventually lead to Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 and potentially his 2019 season. His initial replacement was Luis Cessa who was also bitten by the injury bug with a hip issue.

Domingo Germán would then get his opportunity to lock down the fifth starter. While he stayed healthy, the results were mixed. Germán has a starter quality pitch mix, the issue was walks and home runs, which kept him from holding onto the spot.

CC Sabathia was a consistent bright spot for the rotation and statistically the third best starter in his age 37 season. It was announced on November 7th that Sabathia signed a one-year contract for 8 million dollars. He also stated that 2019 would be his last season. Sabathia raised his K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings) from 7.26 in 2017 to 8.24 in 2018.

Additionally, he cut down his HR/9 (home runs allowed per nine innings) to 1.12 from 1.27 in 2017.
Getting 2.5 WAR from a 37-year-old back-end starter is impressive and if Sabathia can give the Yankees another 150 innings as he did in 2018, then it would be an undeniable success. One milestone to watch: Sabathia needs 14 strikeouts to reach 3,000 in his career.

That brings us to Sonny Gray. The Yankees dealt James Kaprielian, Jorge Mateo and Dustin Fowler for the righty in 2017 and he performed fine in those 11 starts. His first full season with the Yankees was bad. Gray walked 3.94 batters per nine innings and had an ERA of 4.90. He was sent to the bullpen where he would be used in long relief and an occasional spot start to end the year.

General Manager Brian Cashman has been rather open about his intent to deal Gray, telling Matt Ehalt of the Bergen Record that Gray “has got a good makeup, I just don’t think this is the right spot for him.” Unless he is packaged with some prospects, it seems hard to believe that Gray will bring much of a return in prospects, maybe some lottery ticket type players.

To replace Gray and strengthen the fifth spot, Cashman dealt from the surplus of players and prospects who were blocked for Lance Lynn and J.A. Happ. Both performed as good, if not better than what was expected of them coming over. Lynn was worth 1.8 fWAR in 9 starts while Happ was worth 1.1 fWAR in 11 starts. Both are free agents and potential targets for backend innings. Lynn can also provide extended innings out of the bullpen, something he did both in the regular season and playoffs for the Yankees.

Masahiro Tanaka was not healthy for the full year but still turned in one of his better seasons statistically. He sliced his ERA down by a full run to 3.75 and his HR/9 to 1.44. Still, he only pitched 156 innings. When healthy, he is arguably the second-best starter to Luis Severino in the rotation and will be with the Yankees for another two years since he did not opt-out of his contract.

Speaking of Severino, he started off the year with Cy Young caliber stuff. The problem was that his ERA in the second half was 5.57, which for reference was higher than Sonny Gray’s full-season ERA. Severino has the pure stuff: a high 90s fastball and a wipeout slider. He did not use the changeup much until the second half, but it showed flashes as a good pitch. There is also some evidence that Severino was tipping pitches, specifically in the playoffs. The hope would be that the team caught this, and it gets addressed going into next season.

Still, with Severino, Tanaka, and Sabathia there are two spots left in the rotation. There are three routes the Yankees could choose: internal promotion, free agency, and trades. Internally, the Yankees have Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams, and Jonathan Loaisiga. Adams and Loaisiga both made starts during 2017, while Sheffield made some relief appearances late in the year. Loaisiga performed better than Adams but he also dealt with shoulder issues. Expect all three to compete in Spring training 2019 for a spot.

This free agent class looked impressive for pitching a couple years ago and now, it merely looks okay? Clayton Kershaw was taken off the market by signing an extension with the Dodgers in early November. Hyun-Jin Ryu is rumored to most likely accept the Dodgers’ qualifying offer. So, those are two fewer options.

According to Keith Law (insider paywall), the best pitching options still left are Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton and Nathan Eovaldi. Corbin would be an “ace” type acquisition, though he has been injured in the past. Keuchel also has missed some time in 2016 and 2017 but would be a great option as a mid-rotation starter. Morton is on the older side and the Yankees may be wary to sign Eovaldi again, especially with the workload he shouldered coming off Tommy John.

Finally, we come to the trade candidates. James Paxton, Carlos Carrasco, and Corey Kluber have all been rumored to be available so far this offseason as both the Mariners and Indians decide whether they want to shed payroll. Any one of the three would be welcome additions but come with hefty price tags, though it has not stopped Cashman from dealing before.
No matter what, the rotation will be the number one priority this offseason. Expect Cashman to get creative as he addresses the clear weakness of this Yankees team.

Continue Reading

Podcast

Gary Sanchez has shoulder surgery, will be ready Opening Day

Stacey Gotsulias

Published

on

Gary Sanchez
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In today’s episode of Locked On Yankees, Stacey discusses Gary Sanchez’s shoulder surgery (try saying that three times fast), Luke Voit’s insane offseason workouts, Brian Cashman’s comments about Chris Sale and she takes you around the league.

Continue Reading

Podcast

CC Sabathia signs one-year deal to stay with the Yankees in 2019

Stacey Gotsulias

Published

on

Brad Penner-USA Today Sports

In today’s episode of Locked On Yankees, Stacey discusses CC Sabathia’s latest one-year deal with the Yankees and she discusses Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson and much more!

Continue Reading

Trending