Lots Going on in Yankee land…

It’s the end of another week and the end of another series for the Yankees, so let’s have a quick status update on matters that we fans may find important. But first, a quick trivia question:

With one calendar month of the 2022 season in the books, Anthony Rizzo is the Yankees team leader in bWAR. Aaron Judge is tied for second – who is he tied with? You think you know who the most valuable Yankees are? Well, we’ll find out in a minute when I reveal the answer.

Entering the month of May, the Yankees are 15-6 and in first place in the AL East. They’ve won 10 of their last 11 games and eight in a row. That’s great news of course – as I noted two weeks ago, this stretch of the schedule against weak teams would be crucial to the year-end standings, and the Yankees have certainly done their part.

The bad news is that the first win of that 10 of 11 stretch tied them for first place, and even after such a torrid streak, they’re only 1.5 games up on the Blue Jays. Toronto has impressively gone 8-3 against Boston and Houston over their last 11 games, putting them in good shape entering the season’s second month. (Guess where the Yankees will be heading after today’s game? More on that tomorrow – first things first…)

Today Luis Severino gets the ball for the Yankees while Kansas City will send 25-year-old Daniel Lynch to the hill. Lynch is in his second season and is coming off a not-so-great 2021 campaign in which he posted an 80 ERA+, 4,82 FIP, and 1.632 WHIP over 15 starts and 68 innings. He’ll be making his fourth start of 2022 today, and he’s coming off two good ones against Minnesota and Chicago in which he threw a combined 11 shutout innings. A four-seamer and a slider make up 80 percent of his arsenal, and both pitches will find the strike zone, as his ridiculously low 5.9 percent walk rate will attest to. Yet his fastball comes in around 93 to 94 mph and neither his four-seamer nor slider move particularly much, so expect the Yankees to get pitches to hit today.

Speaking of the Yankees bats, Joey Gallo has slashed .300/.364/.650 over his last seven games. Let’s hope the groin tightness that occurred in last night’s game isn’t serious as it looks like the Joey Gallo Yankees fans were hoping for may have finally shown up. Meanwhile, Gleyber Torres has also quietly been on a tear of his own slashing .375/.385/.625 over his last eight games, creating a good problem for manager Aaron Boone in trying to get him regular at-bats.

Speaking of hot Yankees, we need to talk pitching. Clay Holmes has an absurd 82 percent ground ball rate so far this season which is almost ten percent higher than anyone else in baseball, which essentially makes him a right-handed version of prime Zach Britton. Meanwhile, Michael King has the second-lowest xFIP in baseball with an absurd 1.17, matched by an equally crazy 40%-6% strikeout to walk percentage. His value so far in 2022 has made him the answer to our trivia question: Michael King is tied with Aaron Judge for second on the Yankees in bWAR.

The performance of today’s starter has also been a pleasant surprise. Severino will be making his fifth start of ’22 today, and so far he’s been very good posting an 111 ERA+ and 3.52 FIP over 19 innings with 19 punchouts to only six walks. Sevy so far in 2022 has been more of a pitch-to-contact type of pitcher than he was in 2017-18, but he’s still throwing as hard as he did then, and most importantly, he’s generating very weak contact. (His current MLB ranking in the 96th percentile in average exit velocity allowed is the lowest of his career by far.)

Lynch’s first pitch will be at 2:10 PM, EDT. You can catch the game on YES, Bally Sports KC, and MLB.tv, and/or listen on WFAN 101.9/660 or WADO 1280. You can follow along with me @mybaseballpage1 on Twitter and on the “My Baseball Page” on Facebook.

Today’s lineup:

LeMahieu 1B
Judge RF
Donaldson 3B
Stanton DH
Torres 2B
Hicks CF
Andújar LF
Kiner-Falefa SS
Higashioka C

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