By: John Jastremski
After the Yankees were humiliated by the Detroit Tigers right before Memorial Day, the entire team stressed the urgency of their most recent home stand.
Four games with the Tampa Bay Rays and three games with the Boston Red Sox.
To say the Yankees failed miserably in their most recent homestand doesn’t even do justice to what we watched last week at Yankee Stadium. The performance of the team goes beyond the 2-5 homestand in which they saw their deficits grow in both the American League East and the Wild Card Race. It’s become pretty obvious to anyone watching over the first two months of the year a simple truth regarding the Yankees.
They are broken.
It’s funny to think about the 2021 Yankees as the Vegas front runner to win the American League. Vegas assumed like I did, that this would be a Yankee team that would be able to score a whole lot of runs and would hit the ball out of the ballpark pretty consistently.
Two plus months into the year, the Yankees are dead last in the American League in runs scored.
Look up and down the lineup, aside from Aaron Judge. Where is the production? There are plenty of guys underperforming for example, who in their wildest dreams could’ve imagined DJ LeMahieu’s start to this year.
The Machine has turned into the ground ball machine and has been a shell of the player he was in 2019 and 2020.
DJ is not alone though, because the overall construction of the Yankee lineup is flawed. They are too right handed, too reliant on the home run and they’re not hitting the home run.
This lineup loves to do two things especially well over the first two months of the season. Strikeout and hit into double plays. However, the Yankees miserable start two plus months into the year goes beyond the lack of hitting and the roster construction.
They have been an insanely sloppy team.
They lead baseball in getting thrown out on the basepaths. They have played a terrible brand of defense throughout the diamond and have way too many mental mistakes. The sloppy play in many ways falls at the feet of Yankee manager Aaron Boone.
Aaron Boone is a likable guy. He’s a good man, but sadly his team has reflected his personality and not in a good way. The Yankees continue to make the same mental mistakes over and over again and it seems there is a major lack of accountability from their leader. Boone’s nice guy act after games and the constant cliche’s postgame have become tiring.
Over the weekend, the difference in the Boston Red Sox from a year ago was on full display.
The biggest reason for the Sox turnaround is the presence that Alex Cora has provided in returning to manage the team. He’s given the team instant credibility and it’s obvious they are back to playing a different winning brand of baseball since his arrival.
I see the impact that Cora has provided the Red Sox and it’s the opposite with Aaron Boone with the Yankees. With Boone in the final year of his contract, his seat could not be any hotter going into the summer months.
The scrutiny for the Yankees poor play shouldn’t stop with Aaron Boone. Longtime General Manager Brian Cashman must take responsibility for the flaws within the team and the way they have been built.
The Yankees appeared to have a Championship Window starting in 2017 after a feel good regular season and a surprise trip to Game 7 of the ALCS.
Four years later, the Yankees seem further away and not closer to a championship.
Sure, there’s a lot of baseball left. Yes, things can change, but remember this: the Yankees are in a stage of development where they should be World Series or bust.
This was supposed to be a down year for the American League, the Yankees time to capitalize. They’ve done nothing but fizzle and disappoint for two plus months. If it’s more of the same over the next four plus months, wholesale changes up and down the organization are needed.
For now, we’ll see if Cashman, Boone and the Yankees can put the pieces back together.