Apr 5, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda (35) and New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) walk back to the dugout at the end of the second inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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We’re still early in the season, but the New York Yankees are looking like their 2016 counterparts and that needs to change soon.

Allow me to straighten this out right away: The New York Yankees are only three games into the season. If I did the math correctly, that means they still have 159 games left before the playoffs roll around.

Yes, it’s early. However, many seasons have been won and lost in the month of April. A poor April would sit with the Yankees for their entire season and might be the ultimate reason they miss out on October baseball.

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This season the Yankees have a new look, a revitalized confidence. However, they are the same old Yankees that we saw last season. And that will hurt them in the long run if they don’t step up soon.

There are several differences between last season and this season, specifically when it comes to the cast of characters on the field. However, the differences still yield the same results for the Yankees, as they’ve fallen into a rigid script instead of improvising.

So far this season, we’ve seen shaky starting pitching performances, a dominant bullpen and a stagnant offense. Sound familiar, Yankees fans?

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Apr 5, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) tags out Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) at home plate during the second inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Right, it sounds exactly like what happened last season. In the month of April last season, the Yankees starters averaged a 5.10 ERA while the back end of their bullpen in Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman averaged a 1.19 ERA.

With the starters giving up more runs, the offense was expected to produce. Sadly, that did not happen. The month of April last season, the Yankees offense scored 74 runs while their pitchers allowed 99. Altogether, the Yankees compiled a .233 batting average in 2016 and aren’t doing much better this season.

Still don’t see the connections?

The Yankees have been floundering behind mediocre starting pitching and finding themselves in holes they can’t quite dig out of. Game one of the season saw the Yankees fall behind the Tampa Bay Rays on the road early and failing to compile hits to overcome the deficit. The same thing happened in the third game of the season last night.

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The starting pitching has put the pressure on their offense to perform and in that spotlight, the offense has failed…so far. The only hot hitter right now is Chase Headley and beside him, nobody seems to be finding holes in the field. Plus, they are horrifically unsuccessful with runners in scoring position so far this year (0-for-9 last night).

This garners similarities to last April. There would be one or two hot hitters at a time while the rest of the team struggled to find their way on base. That’s what we’re seeing so far from the New York lineup and if that keeps up, the Yankees won’t find their record anywhere over .500.

Masahiro Tanaka gave up seven runs in his first outing. Michael Pineda gave up four in yesterday’s short performance. With the way the Yankees’ offense has been looking, those runs are more than enough for their opponents to comfortably win the game.

Just because the Yankees are looking like the Yankees of last April doesn’t mean they’ll end up like them. It’s still early but these are the problems that need to be solved. It could be a slump or it could be something more. Only time will tell.

So let me spell that out for everyone. We’re not panicking. We don’t need to panic. But we will need to panic if the Yankees decide to continue playing like April doesn’t matter.

No, I am not saying that the Yankees are done for the season by any means. I’m simply pointing out the similarities the Yankees are showing to last year’s squad. While it is only the beginning of the year, April means a whole lot more to a team than you realize.

Last year’s April performance was so dismal that their playoff hopes were ultimately dashed because of it. Had they had a better April, the Yankees might have found themselves playing in October. So it’s still early but this month still holds significance for this season’s run.

Right now, the Yankees don’t have all the pieces working together. The perfect storm will hit when Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez find their strokes and the starters settle down. It will happen but hopefully sooner rather than later.

Right now they are experiencing these April showers that are so widely discussed every year. However, there must be a little sunshine coming their way or else 2017 will end up being a repeat of 2016.

Again, it’s still early. However, the Yankees can’t remain in a funk for too long or they’ll end up disappointed again in October.

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