ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 24: Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees celebrates with teammate Gary Sanchez #24 after hitting a homer in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 24, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees have the third best record in baseball but stand 4.5 games out of first place in their division. The Yankees stand behind the red hot Red Soxs who finished out the first half of their season strong. New York is not out of the division by any means and will have the oppurtunity to make up ground quickly. The Yankees and Red Soxs still have 10 head to head meetings this season which could determine the AL East standings as well as the number 1 seed in the American League. I will be breaking down 5 things the Yankees need to have happen in order to win the American League East.

New York Yankees Second Half Adjustments

1: Gary Sanchez

The New York Yankees are going to need catcher Gary Sanchez to return to form. Sanchez had a rough first half of the season and ended the first half on the DL. Gary Sanchez was batting .190 with 14 home runs and 44 RBI’s this season which is terrible for a player of his caliber. Sanchez is one of the best offensive catchers in the league. The Yankees will need Sanchez’s bat in the middle of the lineup to take some pressure off of the rest of the guys. While Gary has had some huge hits this season he has been struggling mighty at the plate. With guys like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Didi Gegorious that should take some pressure off of Sanchez.

2: Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Yankees have one of the best pitchers in baseball in Luis Severino who is in the running for a CY Young Award this season. The Yankees are going to need their other two starters to find their groove. Tanaka hasn’t had a bad season but with a stint on the DL and missing some time hurt the Yankees. Tanaka has a 7 – 2 record with a 4.54 ERA in 83.1 innings pitched this season. New York will need Tanaka to reach his star potential in the second half of the season to be the ace next to Severino. The Yankees acquired Sonny Gray last season at the trade deadline where he was one of the top coveted pitchers on the market. Sonny has had an up and down season where he has looked terrible in some starts and then in other starts he has looked brillant like one of the top pitchers in the league. Gray is 6 – 7 with a 5.46 ERA in 90.2 innings pitched this season. You expected more out of Sonny Gray who was an ace in Oakland. If the Yankees can get Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka going with Luis Severino and CC Sabathia then they will close the gap in the American League quickly.

3: Health

You can talk about health and injuries with any team in the league. Injuries are part of sports and sometimes you get the bad end of the injury bug which can make or break your season. The Yankees have had a number of players go on the DL this season including Masahiro Tanaka, Gary Sanchez, Aaron Hicks, Gleyber Torres, and Jordan Montgomery. If the Yankees can stay healthy for the most part of the second half then they should be in very good shape. New York has one of the best lineups top to bottom when healthy and a strong rotation and bullpen. If the Yankees can keep their main guys healthy and in the lineup then they will gain more chemistry and be able to roll out the same lineup night in and night out giving them a set lineup.

4: Greg Bird

Greg Bird has been injured for most of the past 2 seasons but came back last season in time for the postseason. Greg Bird has been called the best all around hitter on the team by the coaching staff and his teammates. Greg Bird was one of the main players for the Yankees last season in the postseason. Greg Bird missed the first month and a half of this season and started off very slow when he returned. Over the past month Bird has turned it on at the plate and in the field. Bird gives the Yankees a whole new dynamic in their lineup when he is on and gives the other guys more oppurtunities. If Greg Bird can continue his hot streak and be more efficient in the second half of the season then the Yankees offense will be that much better and they could get on a big winning streak.

5: Trade Deadline

The Trade Deadline is July 31st and the New York Yankees are going to be buyers this season as they chase another championship. The Yankees have been rumored to be looking for a starter and a high level starter in that case. Brain Cashman has been in this situation multiple times before so he knows what this team needs and he is going to get a piece to help them. The Yankees will be looking at many different options as they don’t want to give up to much of their loaded farm system for a rental. New York has been quiet so far but Cashman has been on the phone with multiple teams to see whose available and that could change over the next week with teams falling out of the playoff picture.

The Last Word

Whoever the Yankees wind up getting at the deadline will be asked to come in and contribute right away to a contending team. Their are some high level players that the Yankees have been linked to in Jacob DeGrom, Michael Fulmer, JA Happ, Noah Syndergard, Chris Archer, and Carlos Martinez as well as mid level players in Blake Snell, Tyson Ross, and Johnny Cueto.

Main Image: Embed from Getty Images

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