By: Billy Lewis
The Yankees entered the season with high expectations. They got off to a sluggish 9-9 start, but have been on a tear since then. They sit at 51-25 which is good for first in the AL East and the best winning percentage in baseball (.671).
This past weekend was the most the Yankees have struggled since early April. They were swept by the Tampa Bay Rays and struggled to score runs in the series. Even more concerning was the injury bug that hit Sunday. Catcher Gary Sanchez was trying to beat out a double-play and strained his groin.
Sanchez will be sidelined for 3-4 weeks and though his batting average has been poor, he still has hit 14 home runs and has driven in 41 RBIs. Austin Romine has done a fine job as the backup catcher the past few seasons, but the Bombers will need to replace those power numbers.
Enter Greg Bird. Bird made his season debut May 26 against the Angels. In about a month of playing Bird is has a triple slash of .186/.293/.384 he also only has 3 home runs and 5 RBIs. Bird has had 99 plate appearances so far this year and is still trying to find his swing. For his career, he has had 390 at-bats producing a slash of .218/.311/.456 with 23 home runs and 64 RBIs.
Entering the season I thought Bird would have the quietest 40 home run season in history. Instead, Bird missed the first two months of the season and is struggling to get going. Fans are growing impatient with Bird, and some even want to him in AAA until he finds his swing.
I like Greg Bird and still believe he will be a huge contributor for this team. We’re going into his second month of the season and he has to get going. With Sanchez going down, Bird is the perfect candidate to replace his productiveness.
He has a good lefty swing that should be perfect for Yankee Stadium. The Yankees return home for a weekend series against the other 50+ win team in the AL East, the Boston Red Sox. That series can be a perfect take-off spot for Bird. Nothing can help endear you back to Yankee fans like beating the Red Sox.
The Yankees have played outstanding baseball to date. Greg Bird will be a crucial part to make sure they can continue their winning ways. A productive Bird will help ease the loss of Sanchez. If Bird continues to struggle, the Yankees may be in a bit of trouble.