The 2020 version of the Yankees is not the same team we read and dreamed about during the offseason – and the illusion of #28 is fading fast.
As the games begin today, the Yankees have descended into a tie for second place in the AL East with the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Tampa Bay Rays are taking no prisoners, save for a much-ballyhooed high and tight fastball from Aroldis Chapman that emptied both benches, forcing MLB to issue multiple suspensions.
It’s a fact the Yankees are a full five games back of Tampa Bay in a season-closing in fast.
Who would have thought that the Yankees picked to be in competition only with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best regular-season record and a romp to the World Series?
Yet, while the Dodgers are fulfilling their scripted role (29-10), the Yankees enter today’s play a mere four games over .500 and 4-6 in their last ten games.
The Yankees Are Failing Anyway You Look At It
What’s going on here, and is there still time for the trend to be reversed?
You don’t have to look too far to find the reason(s) for the Yankees’ plight this year. the MLB Injured List tells the whole story.
That, plus the brutal inability of Gary Sanchez (right) to put his bat on the ball, other than the few times the ball finds his bat for a home run (half of his hits are home runs 6 of 12. a
And almost half of his at-bats (41-92) result in a strikeout – leave little if any cause to wonder why the Yankee’s plight is sinking when it should be rising.
Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton – Where Art Thou?
Plain and simple, the Yankees are not the Yankees without a healthy Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in their lineup on a day-to-day basis – as well as short of having Sanchez’s bat to at least force the opposing pitcher to take a deep breath.
The Yankees are fortified by their stock of pitching, with Albert Abreu, Mike King, and Clarke Schmidt able to step in to pick up Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 5.76 ERA) and James Paxton (out again in 10-day IL), but if the team can’t score runs, it’s all for naught.
While the Tampa Bay Rays are running away with a +42 run differential, the Yankees stand almost in stride (+20) with the Blue Jays (+18).
That relates directly to the Yankees’ inability to score runs in the wake of Judge and Stanton having to take a seat on the bench.
Quietly, Aaron Boone will reduce Gary Sanchez to the role of DH until Judge and Stanton are ready to occupy that slot in the Yankees lineup, and Tyler Wade will continue to be Boone’s “where else do I go” replacement for Gleyber Torres.
But overall, we’re looking at a Yankees team that is not gelling. They’re good, and they’ll play you competitively, but you can beat them as the Rays have done to the tune taking eight of ten games from the Yankees this year.
Yankees: Don’t Pretend
The Yankees cannot thrive without Judge and Stanton in their lineup at 100%. Survive, maybe, but that’s not what the Yankees are supposed to be in 2020.
Brian Cashman saw the need, and few would disagree that given the landscape of potential trades, he kept the Yankees as they with a wish and a prayer, in talking with teams who offered only “something that we couldn’t live with.”
So be it. But let’s not fool ourselves into thinking this “replacement team” that Cashman is offering as “enough” is that.
But on a day to day basis, will Aaron Boone have the players to post a Yankees’ lineup that is designed to send shudders of terror into the team’s opposing pitcher?
Brian Cashman says yes – let’s get on with it.
Yankees fans like me – maybe not so much.