Giancarlo Stanton
(Kathy Willens / AP Photo)

The New York Yankees continue to freefall as the lineup still hasn’t gotten things right.

Josh Benjamin

The New York Yankees are frustrating enough to make a fan want to unplug from baseball for a day or five.

Granted, I am not one of these people. In fact, I really can’t be. Writing this weekly column for the best fans in baseball means taking in every inning, no matter how excruciating.

But after yet another week of mixed reviews, Yankees fans have every right to be frustrated. Winning 103 games in 2019 seems eons ago and this team looks more primed for a rebuild with each passing day.

Even manager Aaron Boone’s jovial nature is starting to melt away. After the Philadelphia Phillies shut out the Yankees to complete a two-game sweep on Sunday, he was as curt and blunt as he’s ever been:

The explosion of offense against the Minnesota Twins was a tease and the Yankees’ schedule isn’t getting any easier. Enough with the streakiness. It’s time to actually play the damn game.

 

Feeling Minnesota

The New York Yankees always seem to do well against the Minnesota Twins, so a three-game set at Target Field proved fruitful. Were it not for Aroldis Chapman’s uncharacteristically low velocity on Thursday, the Bronx Bombers would have swept the series.

But the key takeaway from the series was simple: Giancarlo Stanton is back in form after his IL stint. He was 6 for 15 with three home runs and eight RBI against the Twins, including a pair off the batter’s eye. That isn’t easy to do at Target Field.

Gerrit Cole also did what was necessary and pitched six strong innings, putting to rest Josh Donaldson’s cheating talk.

 

Philadelphia Freefall

Given the Philadelphia Phillies’ own struggles this year, expecting the New York Yankees to carry the momentum from Minnesota into a brief two-game set was realistic.

Clearly, having realistic expectations of this team is a fool’s errand. You’d probably have better luck convincing people not to watch Breaking Bad. Or maybe The Wire, but we all get the point.

Jameson Taillon couldn’t even get out of the first inning on Saturday. The Yankees forced extra innings courtesy of DJ LeMahieu’s game-tying home run in the ninth, but Chapman couldn’t hold the line in the tenth.

Sunday was…well, let’s just say between Aaron Judge sitting out with back spasms and Giancarlo benched due to no DH in the National League, it was a bad, bad game. And as was noted above, perhaps this will finally be the tipping point that wakes up the New York Yankees.

But unfortunately, given this latest cold streak, it’s hard to expect anything will change.

 

Looking ahead

Fourth place in the AL East. A single game above .500, along with a run differential of -7. This is what the New York Yankees have done in a season in which they’re favored to win the AL Pennant.

Granted, even if this team rallies and is playoff-ready by October, that’s practically a sprint at this point. Next is a three-game series with the Blue Jays in Buffalo, and then the dangerous Oakland A’s visit for the weekend.

Maybe it’s this new “deadened” baseball that’s hampering the team’s performance. Perhaps this 5-12 stretch is simple bad luck. There’s always the possibility that injuries to Corey Kluber and Luke Voit affected this team to the point of being unable to play without them healthy.

Either way, enough has been enough for far too long now. If the New York Yankees don’t right their ways soon, maybe the fans should consider doing what I can’t:

Change the channel from YES to whatever else, adjust phone notifications accordingly, and just unplug from baseball.