The Yankees have now lost three of their first four games this season. They have a young pitching stud with arm issues again and a first baseman who hit .500 in the spring and can’t put his bat on the ball now. Did anyone think this was going to be easy?
The Yankees are struggling to avoid digging the same hole they found themselves in last year when they opened the season with an 8-14 record in April that proved too deep to climb out of when the team finally gelled in August and September.
The effort is there, the results, however, are missing. The are bright spots but there are far more dark spots at the moment and the whole thing put together spells just another morning to wake up reading the box score, and moving on to something else that can provide a bit of joy in our lives.
Perception Is The Better Part Of Reality
But at the same time, it’s easy to forget that these are the 2017 New York Yankees. They are largely a team that is untested under fire, young, prone to making both physical and mental mistakes, and susceptible to highs that get too high and lows that get too low. All of which combined produces what we have with a 1-3 record.
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The spring the Yankees enjoyed is only a memory now and could turn out to be the worst thing that happened to this team. In truth, the Yankees were never that good, and they are not as bad as they seem now. But perception is often the better part of reality.
And the perception of this team right now is that they are on a course to lose more games than they win in 2017. The hope that the starting pitching will surprise is evaporating, and the need to add even more bullpen help to make up for guys who can’t seem to even get out of the fifth inning is alarming.
At this rate, the Yankees could become the first team to have its bullpen log more innings that the starting staff.
The Yankees Have Options, But At What Cost?
Finger pointing and naming names are not necessary. In the end, it boils down to a team that is not firing on all cylinders. The trouble is, though, that this was a four-cylinder vehicle, to begin with, and not an eight-cylinder car, so there is little margin of error, especially when there are teams named the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Orioles in your Division.
How convincing is Girardi in this YES video from last night?
Questions abound, but there are answers to some of the questions too if the Yankees choose to take some bold steps now before the hole gets deeper. At the same time, though, there are consequences for each of the actions they might take at this juncture.
Joe Girardi can, for instance, pencil in Chris Carter‘s name for Greg Bird for a couple of games, giving Bird a chance to get things sorted out. But if he does, what message does that send to Bird. And he can do the same thing with Aaron Hicks, using him in place of Aaron Judge at the same possible cost to the egos of these young, but still very talented, players.
Or maybe Brian Cashman can decide that there’s no need to wait for April 16, the first time the team will need a fifth starter. Instead, he can make a move now to pencil in Jordan Montgomery and Chad Green, both of whom combined for a 14 strikeout performance the other day in a minor league contest, for a start or two.
There are options, and the Yankees have the depth in their organization to make things happen. But – yes there’s always a but – when does the team pull the trigger on these moves? After four games, ten games, half a season? Since when did we think this would be easy?
Ironically, it’s the veterans on the team who are keeping the team in games at the moment. CC Sabathia, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Chase Headley are more than doing their part at a time when most thought they’d be the ones struggling while the kids excelled. Who knew? It didn’t look that way on Opening Day……………
The Yankees Opening Day lineup presented by Joe Girardi is a mix of the old and the new. But, it has the potential to be more explosive than last season.
Lurking in the background and adding to the intrigue, of course, is Hal Steinbrenner and the stockholders he is pledged to answer to in the name of tickets sold. How much patience can he afford to have before he picks up the phone telling Cashman, “Do something”?
And even with the season a mere four games old, it could be a lot like Yogi Berra in his infinite wisdom said. “It sure gets early out here late.”