WILL THE YANKEES CONTINUE TO BE BLESSED WITH GOOD HEALTH?
Even with the offseason moves designed to make this club younger -- think Didi Gregorius and Nathan Eovaldi -- the Yankees were still a club relying on a slew of veteran players, including Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, for a run at the division crown. Not only has the pair been healthy to this point, they've been extremely productive, all but carrying the offense. There was also the prevailing thought Masahiro Tanaka's elbow was ready to pop at any moment, but the righthander, though he spent some time on the DL early in the season, has avoided major injury, as overall have the Yankees.
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SPEAKING OF TANAKA, WHAT IS THE REAL VERSION OF HIM?I
s he the pitcher who went 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in his first three starts after returning from the DL June 3 or the one who went 0-1 with a 7.88 ERA over his next three starts? Though much has been made of the 26-year-old's velocity, it isn't much different from a season ago, with insiders pointing out the major difference has been Tanaka's pitch selection and inconsistent attacking of the strike zone. A good second half from Tanaka is a must for the Yankees to get where they want to go.
IS CC SABATHIA'S ROTATION SPOT
The lefthander has taken the ball every five days -- except late in the first half when his turn was skipped -- with the mentality a turnaround is forthcoming. But it hasn't happened as Sabathia entered the break by far the club's worst rotation performer, 4-8 with a 5.47 ERA. If the 34-year-old didn't have $25 million coming to him in each of the next two seasons -- as long as he doesn't end 2016 on the DL with a left shoulder injury -- Sabathia likely would have been removed already. But that's a bell not easily unrung so, for now and barring injury, it appears Sabathia will get plenty of time to figure things out. Whether he is able to is another matter.
WILL THE BULLPEN HOLD UP?
The Yankees must get more depth out of their starting staff. Too often in the first half, Joe Girardi was forced go to his bullpen in the sixth inning or sooner. The appearances have already piled up for Justin Wilson (42) and Dellin Betances (41). Adam Warren should help lessen the workload for the group Girardi trusts most, which includes Chasen Shreve and closer Andrew Miller, but that reservoir can't continually be tapped four, five, six days a week. "You just don't want to wear those guys out every day," Brett Gardner said.
WHAT WILL THE TRADE DEADLINE BRING?
GM Brian Cashman has steered clear of the headline-grabbing deadline deal in recent years, instead choosing the minor-tweak route, something that has worked well. For example, last season Cashman added Martin Prado, Stephen Drew and Chase Headley, which instantly turned around what had been a bad defensive infield. He also added righthander Brandon McCarthy, who went 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA with the Yanks after being acquired from the Diamondbacks, for whom he went 3-10, 5.01. A name to watch is Oakland's Ben Zobrist, a versatile player who can play second base and the outfield and someone the Yankees have liked, though they're hardly alone in that respect.