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Around the Empire: Yankees News - 9/28/19

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Happ may be Yankees Game Four starter; Encarnacion not quite ready for game action; Yankees’ World Series odds are third-best in MLB; Judge’s jersey sales best in majors for third consecutive year

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Post | George A. King III: If you had asked me a month ago about J.A. Happ’s chances to be included in the Yankees’ postseason rotation, I would have laughed in your face. That is perhaps less of an indictment of Happ’s performance and more of an example of my poor social skills, but I digress. Anyway, Happ’s recent string of solid starts (1.65 ERA in five September starts) has led some fans to reconsider him as a Game Four starter. With James Paxton possibly injured following his early exit from Friday’s game, the Yankees could certainly use an effective Happ. Here’s hoping this resurgence is more signal than noise, although I’m not terribly confident in that being the case.

NJ.com | Brendan Kuty: Edwin Encarnacion has been a great mid-season acquisition for the Yankees, posting a 121 wRC+ since joining the Bombers—complete with 13 dingers in just 44 games. Sidelined with a strained left oblique, Encarnacion was originally slated to return in Friday’s game against the Rangers, but his name was absent from the lineup card. Aaron Boone explained that he sat Encarnacion due to “trepidation” in dealing with his injury, but also commented that he expects the slugger to be ready for the playoffs. This blogger hopes so, too; any lineup is more fun with Encarnacion in it than without him.

SNY | Danny Abriano: The online gambling site Bovada released their MLB World Series odds recently, and the Yankees were listed as having the third-best odds at winning it all among all contenders, behind only the Astros and the Dodgers. While those two teams terrify me, I also think that the Yankees are closer to them then they are to the field; all three squads are extremely talented and extremely deep. I’m excited to see how the Yankees will do against last year’s champions and runner-ups. Then again, postseason baseball is a fickle beast, so maybe the Yankees will end up playing different teams on their quest for their 28th title.

CBSSports | Matt Snyder: Finally, it was announced that Aaron Judge has led Major League Baseball in jersey sales for the third consecutive season. This is in no doubt a testament to the Yankees’ enormous fanbase and recognition among the most casual of fans, but also to the stellar play of Judge himself, who will finish with more than 4 WAR for the third consecutive year. Judge doesn’t even need to play a whole year to pace the field in jersey sales; imagine what he could do for Modell’s and co. if he were ever to play a full year again.