The moment Yankees knew their no-names would save them
Depth is the new superstar.
The Yankees have depth. They don’t have Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and so many others, but they have depth and that makes all the difference these days in MLB with players unable to stay on the field.
The Yankees entered Monday night’s game against the Mariners having won 13 of their past 18, the AL’s best record over that span, and were only two games behind the AL East-leading Rays — and closing fast. Since April 19, the Yankees are 11-4 while the Rays are 7-7.
All this with backups in key positions and on the mound. Depth everywhere.
The Yankees are thriving. The Mets are stumbling, partly because of lack of depth. The Red Sox used their depth last year to win a world championship, but mysteriously changed that approach and didn’t even think it was important enough to bring back their closer.
Luke Voit first noticed the Yankees’ incredible depth long before it became a thing, during spring training.
“On most of the road trips we go on we only have like a couple starters,’’ Voit told The Post. “I got to play with all these guys. It was fun playing with them. We would go places and we’d still put up six or seven runs. I’m not saying we’d win every time, but you could tell these guys could play.’’
There are different ways players use to mark success and one of them during the spring is to get at-bats quickly.
“I’d be out in the fifth inning because I had gotten my three at-bats, that’s when I knew it was like the real deal,’’ Voit said.
That marked a good offensive day for the team. Those were days of team bonding as well.
The Yankees have changed through the years in that way, as Austin Romine said.
“The atmosphere of coming up is different than it was six or seven years ago,’’ Romine said. “Then it was a little more, ‘You be quiet and pay attention.’ Now you are more included. It’s easier to come up and a lot of guys talk about it, saying when it’s easier to come up you feel comfortable, and you play better. We want to win so we want everybody comfortable.’’
Just as Voit saw it develop in spring training, so did Romine.
“The superstars would come out of the game and the backups come in and you see how good they are,” he said. “You say, ‘Man, they could play on other teams.’ That’s what people usually say.
“Then people started getting hurt and people started filling in and they were really good. People stepped up.’’
“When you come up, you feel like you are not by yourself,’’ Voit said. “This clubhouse is good about it too.’’
Even the backups like Clint Frazier who hit a career-high six home runs in 18 games, injured his left ankle. Frazier returned to the lineup Monday night.
“Going into the season we knew we had depth but I don’t think we knew that we would be tested as much as we have and I think it’s one of those things as we go along we will continue to be tested because we have a lot of new faces that keep coming up here,’’ Frazier said. “Being a young guy with an opportunity, you don’t know how long it is going to last, you don’t know the results you are going to get because that adrenaline kicks in and you want to be here for the rest of the year. It’s hard. We have a lot of guys who deserve to be in this locker room that are showing it every day. It’s really cool.’’
Dellin Betances (shoulder) started throwing again Monday and has a long way to go but his spot, in part, has been filled by Tommy Kahnle, who entered Monday night having 11 straight appearances without allowing a hit or run, a Yankees record previously held by Betances.
“It just shows you the job the organization has done to get guys to fill in and player development has done to get guys ready to play at this level,’’ Betances said.
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