Time is running out in the regular season for the New York Yankees and with their recent slide, the Bombers seem to be missing an even bigger piece in their lineup.
The word “success” isn’t just a word for the New York Yankees; it’s a lifestyle.
Winning is something that comes naturally to the Bronx Bombers, much like breathing, a Miguel Andujar double or an Austin Romine hit with runners in scoring position.
Recently, the winning ways have become a struggle for the Yankees. Although they sit at 90 wins on the season, owning the third-best record in Major League Baseball, their run to the playoffs has turned into a jog, allowing their competition to catch up and make things ten times more interesting.
While it’s easy to make Aaron Boone the scapegoat, there are other issues that go far beyond the casual inexperience at the helm of the team. What the Yankees are missing right now is a leader on the team.
For years, the Yankees relied on big names like Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly to pick the team up when they were down, to serve as the voice of encouragement to their peers. Leadership coming from the front office is one thing, but leadership from within your own dugout is something entirely different and possibly more effective.
It doesn’t seem like the Yankees have a bona fide leader in the dugout right now. Since Aaron Judge suffered a chip fracture in his right wrist, he’s been able to cheer on his team but hasn’t gotten to lead by example.
The Yankees seem lifeless on all fronts. Their starting pitching is struggling to stay afloat while their offense works in spurts. In their first ten games in September, the Yankees are 5-5 against teams like the Detroit Tigers, the Oakland A’s, the Seattle Mariners and the Minnesota Twins. These are all teams they are more than capable of demolishing on a good day.
But as of late, those good days are far and few between. The chemistry and energy on the field just seem to be lacking.
Naturally, here come the comparisons to the magical 2017 postseason run that ended in heartbreak. Before the magic ended in Houston in Game 7 of the ALCS, it seemed like the Bombers would never lose. Why? Because they played every inning like it was life or death.
Now, the Yankees get up in the game, they ease off the gas pedal, giving opponents a chance to come right back into the game. When they are down in the game, there’s no fire, no spark. It seems like they are content with being behind.
They need someone out there to push them, to create a sense of excitement and urgency because, right now, it is crunch time. While the Yankees aren’t likely to catch the division title, they are now in danger of losing their home-field advantage in the Wild Card game.
They need a presence on that field that will keep the energy up, keep their heads in the game and give them the spark they need to play all nine innings. They need a leader on the field and right now, they are severely lacking one.
There’s a slew of veterans who can definitely serve that role for the Yankees. The problem is, someone needs to step up and be that leader. It could mean the difference between a one-and-done game in Oakland or a World Series title in 2018.
The Yankees have the talent, the lineup and the skills to take end their season with a trophy ceremony. But do they have the leadership to do so? Right now, absolutely not.