The New York Yankees just finished up a road trip that exposed a poorly constructed roster containing various discrepancies.
By Emmanuel Berbari
The New York Yankees absolutely flunked their first test of the 2016 season. A nine-game road trip with stops in Texas, Boston, and Baltimore provided the Bronx Bombers with an opportunity to stave off their slow start and play competitive baseball.
Let’s just say the 2-7 output speaks for itself.
The trip got off and running with a win over Texas behind a masterful Nathan Eovaldi performance. Things were all fine and well until Luis Severino turned in a miserable outing and the Yankees managed a total of three runs in the final two games in Arlington. The downward spin started there. All of a sudden, they had dropped a series they were destined to win.
On to Boston, where the Yanks had two heart-wrenching defeats. A stellar Friday night outing from Masahiro Tanaka had the Yanks one out away from turning it over to Betances and Miller, and they somehow found a way to lose.
Saturday’s Rick Porcello induced shutout was an absolute lost cause. Following Saturday’s act act was Sunday’s 8-7 loss that featured a breakout of the offense once and for all but a case of letting a game slip away. Yes, the Yanks were swept in their first series at Fenway and were reeling their way into Baltimore.
The first night at Camden Yards proved to be no different. A decent starting pitching performance and no offense whatsoever resulted in a 4-1 loss. The middle game gave a glimpse of hope to all fans as CC Sabathia stopped the bleeding and the offense had an outburst in a 7-0 shutout win. However, in the rubber game of the set and the finale of the trip, the Yanks wasted another brilliant outing from Tanaka (8 IP, 0 ER) en route to a 1-0 10th inning walk-off loss.
What it amounted to was a Yankee team that averaged 2.7 runs per game on an extended road trip and a pitching staff that completely fell apart on three separate occasions. The team did absolutely nothing with a duo of gems from their ace and watched their 692 home run man limp onto the 15-day DL. Even their untouchable setup man became suddenly, touchable.
A team that entered the road trip with a subpar, yet manageable, 7-10 record, left the trip at 9-17 (.346). A four-game deficit in the American League East had grown to seven with the Yanks three games into the cellar of a strong division.
When they hit, they didn’t pitch. When they pitched, they did not hit. It was usually the latter. An extremely possible five win, four loss outcome spiraled into 2-7 because of the 2016 Yankees’ talent of finding ways to lose.
The team continues to struggle with both runners in scoring position and with no runners in scoring position. They can’t hit. Despite the recent increase in production from the top of the order, the middle of the order has become increasingly vulnerable.
The bad news is that there is no magical help on the way. If the Yanks are looking for their saving grace, it is not coming. They put this hole on themselves with a horrific trip where losing became the norm.
If given a report card, the Yankees get a big fat ‘F’ for this trip. A normal mind would think it is just a matter of bouncing back. The problem is, it does not get easier from here. The Yankees are virtually being placed into multivariable calculus course for their next term.
They return home only to face the Red Sox again, the Royals, and then the White Sox. Two of those three are among the hottest teams in baseball and one is a defending World Series Champion.
A 10 game homestand is usually the place to rebound, but not with this team, not against these opponents, and not in this deep of a hole. It is simply tough to look from the optimistic perspective given that a club with decent expectations continues to stumble day after day.
With that being said, the opportunity was there. Present was the opportunity to play a good brand of baseball against high-caliber clubs. The Yankees did not answer the bell. They can only hope this is not a theme throughout 2016.
For now, they are a team begging for a passing grade on an assignment they did not execute.