The big story of the 2019 New York Yankees so far has been Gio Urshela and Mike Tauchman and DJ LeMahieu and Cameron Maybin doing amazing and wondrous things. Heck, Urshela and Tauchman each hit five home runs last week, and Urshela homered again in Monday's doubleheader. LeMahieu is an MVP candidate (non-Mike Trout division). Maybin entered the season with a career OPS+ of 91, which means he had been a below-average hitter, but he began the week at 144 -- which happens to be the career mark for Giancarlo Stanton.
The story of the 2019 Yankees -- the ending to the final chapter, anyway -- likely will rest with the starting rotation and how it performs in October. There is much angst among Yankees fans these days about that rotation, even after Masahiro Tanaka tossed eight scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. As the fans will quickly point out, that was Tanaka's first good start in a while. In his previous seven starts, he allowed 36 runs in 31? innings and had the worst ERA of any starter in the majors with at least five starts since the All-Star break.
It's not just concern about Tanaka. Going back to the beginning of July (through the first game on Monday), the Yankees' rotation has a 5.56 ERA, 23rd in the majors. Since July 1, Yankees starters have allowed the most home runs in the majors -- yes, even more than the Baltimore Orioles.
OK, maybe it has just been a bad month and 12 days? Well, since June 1, the rotation has a 5.63 ERA, 25th in the majors. For the season, the Yankees have the worst road rotation ERA in the majors.
All that is bad news, and there's no sense sugarcoating it -- thus, all the extra love for Urshela & Co. these days. It's easier to love those who love you back.