Yankees: A Fourth-Place Team With No Map For Direction Home

Yankees Fans (Photo: NBC 10)

Three teams sit above the Yankees in the AL East, and none of them show signs of repenting for their sins. How dare they?

Yankees fans expect a lot, as well they should. An oversized payroll, together with Las Vegas odds that put them as a given to face the Dodgers in the World Series this year and the resources of a team worth $2+ billion to draw from to improve the team – and yet here they are staring up at three teams who are playing better than they are as we look at the AL East Standings.

AL East Standings 5/18/2021 (MLB)
AL East Standings 5/18/2021 (MLB)

The Yankees are in it, but they’re not winning it, and that is something that should be of concern to the team, even as the “it’s still early” mantra prevails.

Yankees: Run-Differential Alarm

The stat that alarms me most about this Yankees’ team is in the Run Differential category (above). These are not small increments between the Yankees and the teams above them.

The stat tells of a team struggling to keep its head above water, winning close games while scoring three or fewer runs.

Yankees <a rel=Aaron Boone at the helm - is it good enough?
Aaron Boone at the helm – is it good enough?

A team that is waiting for DJ LeMahieu to hit the .320 he is supposed to reach, Clint Frazier to cement the spot in left field, and for someone not named Gerrit Cole or Corey Kluber to emerge as the third starter who can form the 1-2-3 punch to subdue opponents in the playoffs.

Injuries, yes, with Giancarlo Stanton the latest to join his comrades on the Injured List (IL), But the Yankees can count themselves as lucky when placed alongside their cross-town rival Mets, who now total fifteen players on the IL.

If Brian Cashman has a plan, it appears to divert to the trade deadline when he is looking for a left-handed power bat fit for the Yankee Stadium porch in right field (excuse me, but I thought we already had one in Didi Gregorius) to equalize the Yankees right-handed lineup partially.

But in all likelihood, this will not be addition by subtraction, with Cashman offering who – Miguel Andujar, Estevan Florial (while he’s hot), or one of the Yankees highly touted stable of pitchers, like Michael King, Albert Abreu, Luis Gil, Nick Nelson, etc.?

Pounded again will be Brian Cashman when, a few years later, we see the likes of Justus Sheffield, Michael Pineda, James Kaprielian, and Sonny Gray, all contributing to clubs Cashman sent them to – in return for what? Can you name a player on the Yankees today who is contributing? I can’t.

Yankees: It Can’t Happen Again – Can It?

The Yankees were outplayed and outsmarted by the Tampa Bay Rays last year, and it’s not a good bet to think it won’t happen again.

Except that this year, the Red Sox and Blue Jays are also in the mix, and the once thought to be a cushion for the Yankees is rapidly emerging as a real test.

 <a rel=Yankees Brian Cashman Aaron Boone - Looking to July?
Yankees Brian Cashman Aaron Boone – Looking to July?

Look, you never write off a team with talent like the Yankees. But at some point, the Yankees will need to deal with the fact that this is not going to be a joyride to a division title as Las Vegas and many fans predicted.

Aaron Boone has no choice but to keep running the same players out there every day while hoping for the best. That Stanton’s injury is not serious, Gary Sanchez will upset all odds to have (at least) a breakout year with the bat, and that Luke Voit‘s home run last night was the first of many to come.

Gerrit Cole, in an atypical start, gave up five runs last night to the Texas Rangers. For a team built like the Yankees, that should have been a kindergarten assignment to overcome. Except, it wasn’t.

Like you, perhaps, I believe in the Yankees roster, but I’m not convinced so far from what I see on the field.

Courtesy of the Yankees, the Rangers ended a six-game losing streak last night. Nothing less than a three-game sweep of the final games of the series will be enough to show me, and more importantly, the Yankees themselves that they are a cut above the rest in the league.

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Emil E. Hernandez  There is Still a long way To Go… The Fun is Just Beginning…

May be an image of text that says 'YANKEES SUCK'
Hubie Mercado  4th place is not an option for the Yankees. This team better get it together or last place will be the norm.
Jim Aulenti  But only 2 and a half out. They need more Desire. And Anger.
Michelle Liscoe  Who the n (h)eck is writing this deal, the difference between 1st and 4th place is 2.5 games!
Thomas Wityak  Taillon has nothing. What a bad trade. Almost every pitch is a mistake. What was Cashman thinking? Pick up a bargain instead of getting quality. This guy hasn’t a clue
Mike Harrington That seems unfair. Yeah, we’re in 4th… but we’re 1.5 GB of first. The entire division is bunched up. A good weekend for us and a bad weekend for others could reverse the entire order.

Yanks just need to keep doing what they’re doing, winning series. They’ve already shown as the weather gets warmer the bats get hotter.
I still believe Boston is playing above their talent and will revert to the mean. The Rays and Jays are the ones to watch for.

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.