LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees Rain Out Musings & A Forecast for 2016

Friday, September 11, 2015

Yankees Rain Out Musings & A Forecast for 2016

Is rain a bad thing in the middle of a pennant race? After all, it rained on both teams. The Yankees and Blue Jays will have to play a double header on Saturday to make up for last night's rain out. The Toronto series will do one of three things: put the Yankees in the driver's seat, put Toronto in the driver's seat or keep things pretty much the same with four fewer games to play.

Perhaps the recent struggles at home in the stretch run are a temporary setback. The AL East title is still up for grabs, but even if Toronto wins, look at it this way, the Yankees are still in line to host the wild card play-in game in October. Maybe from there they advance to the ALDS, or maybe the season ends that day. Maybe there is a new season that the Yankees embrace as their own, a season of domination. That's why these playoff games are played and in case you forgot, Kansas City and San Francisco won their respective play-in wild card games on the way to meeting in a seven game World Series.
But then again, the Yankees just might go home early.
If that's the case, then I am here to help. Next season will be a new beginning. Games like we have seen on this homestand may become a thing of the past. Two losses in three games to the previously slumping Orioles is reminiscent of losing three of four to Cleveland during the prior ten game homestand. So the Yankees, who went 5-5 on the last homestand, are 3-3 in the first six games of the current ten game homestand. Eight and eight at home the last sixteen games is just not good. Enter Toronto for the next four games which, in a worst case scenario, might direct us to that one game playoff in early October. 
Whatever happens in the Toronto series, down the stretch, or in any playoff game or series, Brian Cashman has kept the future in mind when considering in-season trades and deadline deals. So if this season is lost, consider what we have to look forward to in 2016:
1. A full season of young ace stud, Luis Severino. 

2. Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda both healthy enough to make at least 30 starts each. Well, we can dream.

3. Nathan Eovaldi evolving into a stud starter who can limit his pitch count every time out. One hundred MPH fastballs are nice, but outs can also be gained with a lot less speed. Mix 'em up Nate.

4. Not wishing anything bad on such great players as CC Sabathia, but maybe its time to admit the knee just won't allow him to be the ace he once was. Perhaps one more try in the spring and if the issue persists, give the man a sendoff worthy of his great career.

5. The bullpen. We got 'em now. Seems we have at least four, possibly five of the seven spots filled, which means there will be a lot of in house competition from a long list of competitors. Somebody might be offered in a trade just to ease the log jam.

6. Didi Gregorius will be the stud he has become this summer and watch for the difference between April '15 and April '16.

7. Chase Headley's second half improvement could carry over to April '16 as well.  

8. Carlos Beltran will prove he isn't quite finished, though with Aaron Judge knocking at the door at AAA, Beltran could make his final year in pinstripes memorable,

9. A new second baseman, either through trade, free agency (not seeing any names that jump out at me, though) or internally. Decision time approaches for Rob Refsnyder.

10. More of the same from Mark Teixeira (before that foul ball that nailed him on the leg) and Alex Rodriguez (Any doubters for A-Rod now?)

11. More speed in each game which means keeping guys at the top of the order, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner healthy. Do the same for their likely, albeit temporary (hopefully)  replacements, Mason Williams and Slade Heathcott, if needed.   

12. A farm system that continues to advance future stars like Severino, Greg Bird and the revolving door of relievers from which a stronger bullpen emerges.
No matter what happens in this series with Toronto of four games in three days, the Yankees should see something of a post season. Good or bad, when it is all over and done for 2015, we will have some things to look forward to in 2016.
Thank you, Brian Cashman and, let's go Yankees.

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