Yankees: This season has been completely backwards

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees must have believed that it was only a matter of time before an MLB season would make no sense at all, and this appears to be the one. While the Yankees struggle with growing pains, so does the rest of the league.

Had the Yankees or you told me before the start of the season that both Arizona and Milwaukee were going to be above .500 teams, I would’ve laughed in your face. If you told me that the Chicago Cubs were going to be in a complete garbage fire situation after winning the World Series, I also would have laughed. These teams aren’t the only ones experiencing some Twilight Zone-esque seasons, though.

So too are the New York Yankees. Just a month ago, they were on an absolute tear and seemingly were showing no signs of stopping. Now, there’s been a total reversal, and they find themselves a game behind Boston.

The injuries for the Yankees continue to pile on while they struggle to get wins. Losing a promising rookie in Dustin Fowler in his first game just makes it even more hard to bear. However, there’s still no reason to give up on this team competing.

It’s Far from Over

Before an excellent Spring Training, the Yankees were known to be in a rebuild. The question of whether or not they will make the playoffs wasn’t a question at all. There would be no playoffs unless they could get lucky and try to nab a Wild Card spot. Fast-forward to a few months later, and a first place Yankees team should easily make the playoffs.

More from Yanks Go Yard

But, as fate would have it, the Yankees hot streak has seemingly come to an end. Injuries, as mentioned before, has made it even harder for them to get back on the right track.

Their vastly unreliable pitching, which was still the biggest question coming out of Spring Training, hasn’t helped much either. It’s been tough to get a real feeling for what this team’s identity is.

Are they the Baby Bombers who are expected to go through growing pains or are they a playoff contender? It’s perfectly reasonable to say they got hot at the right time and their luck has run out. I’d say it’s also sensible to say they can be in the playoffs.

The Pretenders

You take a look at the rest of the league, and you quickly realize there are very few teams that can win the World Series. Milwaukee and Arizona, even if they continue like this, are not built for an extended playoff run. Colorado has cooled down and turned back into their mediocre form. Chicago doesn’t look poised to repeat.

No one said rebuilding is easy, less so on the fly, but the Yankees would do well to learn from their struggles and move on.

Boston has pitching problems just as the Yankees do, and that’s even with Chris Sale doing well. And the fact that the Yankees have struggled heavily the past few weeks and are still only one game back of first shows how bad the AL East is.

The Contenders

There are about four teams that have a serious chance to win. Cleveland probably has the worst chance of the four to go back to the World Series. Houston looks like they’re for real as do the Dodgers and the Nationals.

Had this been a month ago, I think I would have put the Yankees in this category too. The lack of good pitching was always ultimately going to come back in biting them in the rear inevitably, though. Going into the trade deadline at the end of July, it’s hard even to say what the Yankees will do. Will they be buyers, sellers, or stay put?

It all depends on what upper management thinks this team can achieve. Obviously, they’re not keen on giving up young prospects, so cross off any blockbuster deal happening. If their struggles continue into the deadline, they will either be selling or may just keep the hand they’ve been dealt.

The Struggles Aren’t the Only Thing to Worry About

The quick turnaround from a sizzling hot team to an entirely cold one has indeed been worrying. However, the team has also made it harder on themselves. Bringing back Chris Carter, who’s received more hate than the flu, in favor or Miguel Andujar was utterly nonsensical. Especially when you consider Andujar fared well in his first game which led to a 12-3 win.

Dustin Fowler, while no fault of the Yankees, was not so fortunate in his first game. You would assume at some point all signs seem to point at Frazier being given a chance. Greg Bird not seeming to improve at all and may end up being out for the season doesn’t help much either. The pitching…yeah not much needs to be added here.

Though injuries and struggling to get wins is troubling, there’s much to be proud of. The Yankees have exceeded expectations this season so far, and it’s still far from a finished season. Aaron Judge looks like he will eventually be named Rookie of the Year in for the American League.

Next: Papa Steinbrenner belongs in the Hall

And furthermore, Judge’s doppelgänger in Cody Bellinger has made this one of the most interesting rookie competitions in a long time. So, even if this season turns out to be a bust, the Yankees can relish in the fact that for quite a few months they exceeded expectations.

No one said rebuilding is easy, less so on the fly, but the Yankees would do well to learn from their struggles and move on.