What an ugly week for the New York Yankees. Sure, the record says the Yankees went 3-3 on the week, but it was against two last place teams, one of which is currently the worst team in baseball. Two of those three wins were late inning comebacks.
It could be worse. The Yankees are still above .500 and although they fell out of first place, they are still right there just two games back. The Yankees’ have a lot of problems they need to fix and it has nothing to do with their injury riddled pitching staff. The Bronx is boiling, folks, and I need to blow some steam.
OUR PITCHING PROBLEMS MEANS NOTHING IF THE YANKEES CAN’T SCORE RUNS
Earlier this week, the news on CC Sabathia’s injury had mixed results among Yankees fans. Some were happy that the aging one-time ace was out until July. Others, like yours truly, are anxiously awaiting his July return. Either way you looked at it, you most likely agreed that something needs to be done with the Yankees make shift starting rotation.
The thing is, the Yankees pitching staff is deep. The bullpen is filled with one time starters, some even have major league experience. David Phelps has pitched masterfully in his two outings since rejoining the rotation and although limited in innings, Chase Whitley is slowly proving he has big league stuff. The bullpen, minus Alfredo Aceves and Matt Thornton, are performing quite well. It is the Yankees line-up that isn’t coming through.
Take Thursday’s game for example. David Phelps came out and pitched a great game for the Yankees going seven innings with eight strike outs while allowing just two runs. The Yankees’ bats responded by giving Phelps one baserunner and striking out 11 times during his seven innings of work. ONE HIT! And yes, it was against Chris Sale who is one of the league’s more dominant lefties, it was his first start after a month long lay off on the DL.
The Yankees hitting is absolutely atrocious. Earlier this season, I wrote a Bronx is Boiling on Kevin Long and how his complete ineptness as a hitting coach has worn itself thin with me. We are now witnessing the problem of Kevin Long’s approach in full force. Baseball is about scoring runs and for the last two seasons the Yankees can’t seem to do that on a regular basis.
My original rant on Long came when the Yankees had no home runs a week into the 2014 season. Have the Yankees improved on that? Of course, they are the Bronx Bombers, home runs were bound to come. But when it comes to runs, RBI, and on base percentage, the Yankees are in the bottom half of the AL. When you live and die by the long ball, you need runners on base. When your team is hitting a combined .259 and getting on base at a .322 lick, you aren’t getting said runners on base.
Quick, tell me who hit more than 30 home runs on the World Champion 1996 Yankees team? Can’t remember? Okay, tell me who hit more than 30 home runs on the record setting 1998 World Champion Yankees team? Still thinking? Try the 1999 team, anyone? 30 plus home runs? Ok, fine, someone on the 2000 team must have had more than 30 home runs, right? Nope.
Bernie Williams in 2000 had 30 home runs and that was it. During the high point of the Steroid Era of baseball, the Yankees proved that winning championships wasn’t having all-star home run mashers. It was about having guys who had long at bats and took pitchers deep into counts. It was about an evenly distributed lineup that from number one through nine could kill you, whether it be with a single or a game winning home run. The Yankees wrote the book on how to win the World Series and suddenly drifted from their own theory. They are an all or nothing team with undisciplined hitters all over the lineup.
Currently, Whitley has a higher batting average than all of our every day starters. While batting average isn’t the tell-all stat, it certainly shows how often our elite hitters put the ball in play and cause some raucous on the base paths. Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury have forgotten how to hit in the last few weeks. Eventually, all the late inning heroics in the world will catch up to you.
Remember the ’90s Yankees? We could be down 12 in the ninth inning with two outs and somehow every Yankees fan knew we would win. The second we go down this year, even if it is 1-0, I start to fret. This Yankees team, much like last years team of misfits that finished last in the AL East in EVERY offensive category, can not score runs at a consistent basis. When that doesn’t happen, it won’t matter if Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, or Sabathia ever comeback.
After the MLB draft in June, you can be sure that the Yankees will begin to eye up some trades to acquire starting pitching. We could land Clayton Kershaw and right now, at the pace the Yankees are scoring runs, it won’t mean a thing.