After the disastrous series in Boston, the Yankees can definitely use some help. Luckily, their rotation is about to get a big boost.
When the Yankees acquired J.A. Happ ahead of the trade deadline, the idea was for him to help the team defeat the Red Sox. Unfortunately, an unfortunate case of hand, foot and mouth disease cost him the opportunity to start a game at Fenway. The good news for Aaron Boone and company is that now he’s ready to get back on the mound.
Team sources indicate Happ is in line to start Thursday’s game against the Rangers. That should help stabilize a rotation in desperate need of continuity. Sonny Gray’s failure to hold down his spot in the rotation has forced Boone to make significant changes. Recently acquired Lance Lynn got the start against the White Sox on Monday evening. That wasn’t the plan when he was acquired from Minnesota.
Happ, on the other hand, was always intended to become a regular part of the five-man rotation. He was excellent in his first start in pinstripes. The former Blue Jays’ southpaw threw six innings of three-hit ball in his start against the Royals after making the move to the Bronx. The organization will be hoping Happ can keep performing like that when he comes off the disabled list.
If he gets hot, Happ has the talent to pitch like an ace for an extended period of time. That might be enough to get the Yankees back on the right track. Happ can’t close the gap behind Boston all by himself, but he can help take the pressure off the rest of New York’s rotation, the best thing to help the likes of Luis Severino and CC Sabathia return to their top form.
If nothing else, the return of Happ will allow the rest of Boone’s pitching staff to return to their proper role. It should also eliminate the need for the Yankees to rely on rookies like Chance Adams to pitch in tense situations down the stretch.
The Yankees have a lot of work to do if they want to overtake Boston to win the AL East crown, but getting Happ healthy should help right the ship. It’s a big step in the right direction for a team in desperate need of some good fortune.