NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 31: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees reacts in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on August 31, 2020 in New York City.
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees are on the coldest of cold streaks once again, and it doesn’t matter that it’s April. Change has to start now.

Josh Benjamin

Dear New York Yankees,

Seven runs, 11 hits, and four errors.

At face value, this is the production one would expect from the lineup. The four errors could mean a loss, or just a win with some awful miscues in the field. What’s most important is seven runs and 11 hits are perfectly acceptable numbers in a game given the Yankees lineup.

Except, the above figures aren’t from a single game. No, not at all. Seven runs, 11 hits, and four errors are all the Yankees could muster this past weekend. This was the extent of the team’s entire offense across three games with the AL East rival Tampa Bay Rays.

I won’t recap the season thus far, but we all know where this is going. The New York Yankees have looked, in a word, pathetic. They are 5-10 on the year and last in the AL East, the team’s worst start since 1997. Granted, New York rebounded to win the Wild Card and made it to Game 5 of the ALDS that year, but things are different now. Baseball has become all about stacking the lineup with power, which means more strikeouts, which means the Yankees are having a bad time in 2021.

Well, guess what? The fans are having a bad time too. Every year, we are told how competitive the team is and how that 27th World Series championship is not a matter of if, but when.

We have had enough and all we have is one simple request:

New York Yankees, get out of your damn heads and just play the game.

gary sanchez
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Lineup Anemia

This season had a weird start to it from the get-go when Aaron Hicks struck out three times on Opening Day, and then again in the second game. Keep in mind, Hicks striking out extensively is like the McRib. Cold streaks like those just don’t come around for him very often, much as McDonald’s fatty, disgusting, and delicious barbecue sandwich just kind of pops up whenever.

For context, Hicks’ K% was only 18% last year while his BB% was a strong 19.4%. He only hit .225, but his wOBA was an excellent .351. Today, Hicks’ BB% is down to 7.3% and his K% has skyrocketed to 25.5%, completely uncharacteristic of him.

And Hicks’ struggles are simply a microcosm of what is wrong with the Yankees’ offense as a whole. New York is batting .210 as a team and ranks 26th in MLB in batting average. Their OPS, which measures their ability to get on base and also hit for power, sits dead last in baseball at .642.

Oh, and did I mention Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are both in the lineup? The only glaring absence is Luke Voit, who’s working his way back from knee surgery.

I can throw out more and more numbers, but the game tape will say it all. The New York Yankees are trying to do too much at the plate, plain and simple. Forget a good at-bat, they want the home run or nothing, and it’s becoming a problem.

If this is how a team reacts to a slow start or a key player being hurt, as we’ve seen with Judge and Stanton’s injuries over the years, then maybe the Yankees shouldn’t invest so heavily in analytics.

No, if injury struggles affect the lineup’s performance this much, then maybe the New York Yankees need to invest more in simple sports psychology.

Gerrit Cole
Courtesy IG: @yankees

Don’t blame the pitching

And don’t blame the pitching for the Yankees’ struggles either. Yes, a team ERA of 4.74 is awful, but we have to give the Yankees a break here. We all knew pitching would be a roller coaster this year.

Corey Kluber’s command has been rough early, and Jameson Taillon’s run headfirst into some bad luck. Neither has bred much confidence, but it’s also easy to forget neither has pitched a proper season for almost two years. Gerrit Cole can only do so much with little run support, same as Jordan Montgomery. The fifth starter’s spot will probably be a neverending game of musical chairs until Luis Severino comes back from Tommy John surgery in the summer.

The bullpen has done well supporting a struggling rotation, but it’s time for the lineup to hold up its end of the bargain too.

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - MARCH 12: New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman talks with manager Aaron Boone prior to a Grapefruit League spring training game against the Washington Nationals at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on March 12, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Many professional and college sports are canceling or postponing their games due to the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Final thoughts

For those of you who have been banging the table in support while reading this, don’t get used to this tone. This is probably the most I’m going to sound like Yankees Twitter all season.

That doesn’t take away from the harsh reality that the New York Yankees’ play this year has been absolutely unacceptable. Manager Aaron Boone even did what everyone’s wanted for years on Friday and chewed the team out, yet the Yankees were still swept. Neither he nor Brian Cashman is going anywhere, so spare us from your usual rants about how they both need to be gone or Armageddon will happen.

The team needs to be better. The fans know it, the front office knows it and, most important of all, the team knows it. Frustrations are boiling over to the point where objects are being thrown on the field, an act most teams would call rock bottom. And it’s only April.

In fact, let’s let Network‘s Howard Beale say how we feel:

That’s right, Yankees. The fans are sick of words, hopes, and promises. We want wins. We want action. All we desire is baseball, and we want to watch our favorite team play it properly, not like a bunch of 10-year-olds who were cut from the Bad News Bears.

Watching an ice-cold 5-15 stretch practically tank a shortened season last year was bad enough. Don’t make us go through that again, even if it is just April.

Get it together. Now.

Sincerely,
Your fans.

NYY

NYM

NYG

NYJ

NYK

BKN

NYR

NYI

NJD

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