These are five things the Yankees haven’t had for most of the past month. To make a run at the playoffs, which of these do they need most? Do they have to have all of them?
CC Sabathia’s arm
He’s supposed to be the ace. He’s pitching like a No. 5 (and not a very good one). The Yankees have come to count on Sabathia as a steady source of winnable starts. If he rediscovers that workhorse consistency, the Yankees will have a strong 1-2 at the top of the rotation. If he doesn’t, they’ll need Hiroki Kuroda to pitch every three days or so.
Derek Jeter’s legs
He’s jogging out of the box because the Yankees have told him to do so. But it’s not only the hustle that’s important. Jeter is going to play shortstop regularly, which means the Yankees need him to play the field, and he’s going to bat second, which means they need him getting on base and running the bases. He has to be a table setter and, at the very least, a steady defender.
Alfonso Soriano’s power
He was acquired for one thing: To bring some home run thump to the middle of the order. Soriano’s not a very good defender, he strikes out a lot, and he’s probably not going to hit .300. But without him, the Yankees don’t have a go-to power threat from the right side. That hurt them the past three months.
Curtis Granderson’s upside
It was only two years ago that Granderson was an MVP candidate who hit .286/.423/.657 in the month of August. He’s had more than 40 home runs in two straight seasons. Obviously Robinson Cano is the Yankees offensive superstar, but now that the trade deadline has come and gone, their best bet to add a second dominant bat is Granderson. They need him to be good, the question is, exactly how good do they need him to be?
Alex Rodriguez’s defiance
Rodriguez clearly has a chip on his shoulder. If he’s allowed to play through a suspension appeal, he’ll be an obvious distraction, but might he also be a source of some sort of prove-you-wrong ability to perform? The Yankees have gotten very little production from third base this season, and it seems likely that Rodriguez will not be able to change that, but what if he can?
Associated Press photo