5 Role Players Who Will Impact the Yankees' September Postseason Push
When you think about the New York Yankees and their history of greatness in Major League Baseball, you often think about the big names that led them to their success, but role players have always proven to be just as important.
The Bombers have dealt with a ton of injuries this season and that makes the team's backups that much more vital down the stretch of the season.
Here are five role players that will help the Bombers most during September.
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Chavez has been the Yanks hottest hitter by far over the past month and that has been especially important since Alex Rodriguez has been on the shelf.
Chavez is hitting .373 for the month of August with four homers and 10 RBI, proving he can carry this team offensively when necessary.
Evidence of that was seen during the Yanks series with the Detroit Tigers when Chavez went 9-for-16 with two homers and five RBI during the four games.
Even with his hot bat, manager Joe Girardi remains hesitant to start Chavez against left-handers, but that needs to end. Chavez, as I mentioned before, is the Yankees hottest hitter and can't be kept out of the lineup on any given day.
I understand his injury history, but Chavez is far too important to this team's lineup not to have him in there every day.
He has already proven to be able to carry his team when they need him and there's no doubt Chavez's bat will continue to be vital to the Bombers success throughout the month of September, and maybe beyond.
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With the injuries to Andy Pettitte and Ivan Nova, David Phelps' role on this team has become important.
Phelps has made the most of his opportunities and remains a staple in the Bombers rotation moving forward. On the season, Phelps is 3-4 with a 2.96 ERA having split duties between the starting five and the bullpen.
As the calendar page turns to September, Phelps is no less important than he has been all season.
Pettitte still isn't a certainty to return and even if he does, it's looking like towards the middle to end of September at best. In Nova's case, yes he might be back on schedule, but his ineffectiveness has made him a huge question mark moving forward.
The Yanks need the steady hand they've seen from Phelps on the mound all season long. No, he might not be a dominant starter in this rotation, but his performances have always kept his team in the game.
Phelps' arm will be heavily relied upon the rest of the way and that could help him into the conversation as a member of New York's rotation for 2013.
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A-Rod's injury was a tough blow to the Yankees lineup, but Mark Teixeira's is almost impossible to deal with. The ability to score runs never comes easy, especially when you're a team like the Yankees who are missing their two big bats.
New York must find an easier way to score runs and Ichiro provides them with that chance. However, manager Joe Girardi must switch Suzuki to leadoff in order to take advantage of the Hall of Famer's true skills.
Ichiro is a career .324 leadoff hitter for his career and it's clear that is where he thrives most. For the majority of his time in pinstripes, Ichiro has been hitting either eighth or ninth with the likes of Casey McGehee, Chris Stewart and interstate-dweller Russell Martin hitting behind him.
In that span, Ichiro is hitting close to .300 and has seen his renewed effort at the plate wasted thanks to a lack of support behind him.
If the Yanks can move Ichiro to leadoff, they would have two solid hitters at the top of the order to set the table for the team's bigger bats. That would no doubt enable the Yanks to score some more runs while making it slightly easier in the process.
Ichiro can make a huge impact in the Yankees lineup as long as Girardi allows him to.
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Garcia's importance to this team was in doubt after a horrible start to the 2012 campaign that saw him relegated to the long man role in the bullpen. But since then, Garcia has turned his season around.
Thanks to a ton of injuries, Garcia has found his way back into the starting rotation and he's been no slouch since his re-entry.
In July and August, Garcia has seen some time in the starting rotation and has made the most of it. In that time, he's 5-2 with an ERA a little over four. Garcia has only had two bad starts in that time and has given the Bombers a reliable arm to turn to with all their injuries.
Garcia's veteran presence on this team down the stretch will be instrumental in the Yankees success as the 36-year-old will find himself making important September starts.
Even when he's moved back to the 'pen when New York's wounded return, he'll be a great insurance policy for some of the Yanks inconsistent starters as the team's long man.
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With more injuries, Jones has seen more and more playing time and that's exactly what he was looking for when he re-signed with New York.
Overall, Jones has had a solid season driving in runs when he has been in the lineup. The Yanks' utility outfielder has smashed 13 homers and driven in 31 runs during 2012, despite his abysmal .207 average that makes it quite clear Jones is an all-or-nothing hitter.
But that doesn't change the fact that he can still produce for this team and with all the injuries the Bombers have suffered to their lineup and the struggles some of their key hitters are facing, Jones' production has become increasingly more important by the day.
August might have been a rough month for Jones, but he will remain in the lineup and his offensive support will be much needed as the Yankees approach October.