The New York Yankees need to refocus after underachieving in what should have been a fairly soft week.
Such is life in covering the New York Yankees.
If you think about it, you could argue there have been not one but two different Yankees teams this year. One hot, one cold. One exciting, one drab. One Santorini, one South Pole. One Freddy Krueger, one Elsa.
Now that we’re done with the temperature metaphors, let’s get into why this week’s State of the Yankees is back in Led Tasso mode. This week was simple after a 13-game winning streak was snapped with two losses in Oakland. Three games with the Angels in Anaheim, a day off, and then a weekend series with the last-place Orioles.
One would think the New York Yankees would at least win two out of three in each series. Los Angeles didn’t have Mike Trout or Anthony Rendon in the lineup, and Shohei Ohtani didn’t pitch. Baltimore has shown all season long that the Charm City’s best days were when The Wire was on the air.
Instead, the Yankees reverted to the play they’ve displayed all year: struggling at the plate despite a stacked lineup, and all the pitching staff can do is try and keep the game close. Oh, and they actually lost two out of three in each series.
It’s September. Enough is enough. These New York Yankees need to start respecting their opponents and further respect how lucky they are to be in the playoff picture at all.
The Yankees can’t afford more bad losses
There won’t be any rehashing any of the games from the previous week. Forget Aroldis Chapman having an off game on Saturday, or Andrew Heaney blowing games in both LA and the Bronx. The offense struggling is par for the course at this point.
Rather, let’s focus on just how little the Yankees can afford to suffer these bad losses for the rest of the season. The next day off isn’t until Sept. 23, and none of New York’s opponents up until then are currently playoff teams.
In fact, the Bronx Bombers’ only playoff-level opponents for the rest of the season are the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. Even more telling, the Yankees don’t play either team again until after the 23rd. Oh, and let’s not forget the Red Sox could easily be out of the playoff race by then.
The New York Yankees control their destiny. There’s literally no excuse for not going on another hot streak starting this week.
No easy fixes
There is no magic button for manager Aaron Boone to push, except maybe never using Heaney again. Some will surely cry for Corey Kluber to be taken out of the rotation and Luis Gil to take his place, but that’s probably not going to happen.
But the pitching isn’t the problem. The Yankees currently rank fourth in MLB with a 3.62 staff ERA. The offense, on the other hand, ranks 23rd in batting average and 20th runs scored. That strong pitching staff isn’t worth squat without a lineup supporting it properly.
Oh, and forget the AL East race. Not unless the Rays just collapse without explanation. Maybe if the team focuses on clinching home-field advantage in the AL Wild Card, everyone will relax and play at their highest level.
The New York Yankees get their first chance at another hot streak when the Toronto Blue Jays visit the Bronx for four. For the weekend, they’ll visit the New York Mets in Queens. As in, a road series without any significant travel.
No more excuses. Even with the soft schedule ahead, no win is guaranteed. Now, time to start the home stretch of the season on the right foot and make last week a distant memory.