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These Yankees simply won’t give up on the season

There’s a giant hole in the stern, but they just refuse to sink.

New York Yankees v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Looking at the team’s 2018 numbers, the Yankees have approximately 30 bWAR on the injured list. To put it in financial terms, about $81.9 million of their $203.9 million 2019 payroll is hurt. Take a look at the Opening Day roster and compare it to the one they’ve been trotting out this week. On Monday night, I turned on the game against the Angels for a little bit and I had no idea who was wearing the Yankees uniforms.

The Yankees could field a star-studded lineup with everyone that’s gone down so far this year.

It’s peak bleak.

Yet, somehow this team has managed to stay afloat. They simply won’t go down without a fight. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many, many stupid and frustrating losses this season, but somehow they have a record over .500. I have no idea how that’s possible. It feels like this team should be Marlins’ level of bad. They’re not though, and that’s amazing.

As commenter Douglas Joslyn pointed out after Monday night’s extra inning win over the Angels:

“These patchwork Yankees have won four in a row, six of seven, and hold the MLB best record in their last ten games of 7-3 (Tied with about five teams).”

They’ve had guys step up just about everywhere. Clint Frazier is finally showing more than his “legendary” bat speed. He’s showing what made him such a prized prospect. He’s showing his promise and potential. The Yankees 7-9 hitters have apparently been among the best in baseball. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s been a pleasure to follow.

The credit for them overachieving — that’s exactly what they’re doing — goes everywhere. The biggest round of applause has to go to the players themselves for stepping up when no one expected them to play this well. It has to go beyond that as well.

It would be easy for a team to feel defeated and broken after losing so many players, but their morale has not gone down at all. Yankees fans have complained endlessly, and rightfully so, about Aaron Boone’s in-game management at times, specifically his bullpen management. But he wasn’t brought on for that reason. He was brought on because of his ability to connect to players. I’ve said before that fans don’t know what happens behind the scenes of the clubhouse, but whatever he’s doing is working.

Lastly, credit has to go to Brian Cashman. It’s easy for us to go on about how they should have signed Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but Hal Steinbrenner still hadn’t closed on his 14th yacht so he couldn’t risk Cashman affecting his credit report with another big purchase. Cashman had to work within the boundaries he was provided and he found talent that worked.

Per that FanGraphs article, if the Yankees keep playing the way they are, they could end up winning 94 games and the AL East. A possibility no one could fathom when they lost about 30 wins to the injured list. Fortunately (hopefully?) they won’t need to rely on overachieving for long. They should start getting healthy soon and they can ease the burden on those that have meant so much right now.

We’re going to eventually get to the trade deadline when we’ll hear a familiar “our healthy players will be our trade acquisitions” type schtick. It’ll be deserving of an eye roll and an audible groan, but there will be some truth to that. Imagine going most of the year without Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez and then suddenly having all three of those players in your lineup?

The Yankees are a real powerhouse when healthy, they just have to cross their fingers and hope the C Squad can keep them in it until the reinforcements arrive. So far, they’ve at least shown that they won’t be going down without a fight. This ship wants so badly to sink, but these “nobodies” just refuse.