It’d be foolish to proclaim that the Yankees 2018 is doomed after the team’s Labor Day loss to the Athletics. The only problem? Monday’s result wasn’t an anomaly.
The Bombers, according to Jeff Fogle of The New York Post, are just 2-8 against winning teams since the All-Star break. Allow me to repeat that: the second-half Yankees have won two-of-10 match-ups against teams with winning records.
The Yanks’ reputation as the overspending “Evil Empire” has faded in recent years. But this is still the New York Yankees we’re talking about. Few clubs have bigger or better markets than the Big Apple. Of course, the gigantic market comes with sky-high expectations and often debilitating pressure, for both the players and the organization itself.
The Oakland Athletics don’t have that problem. Oakland is always seen as “the little engine that could.” When they’re competitive, the A’s are everyone’s favorite underdog. Billy Beane’s former brainchild has historically had one of baseball’s smallest payrolls.
As a result, the odds are often stacked against Oakland. After a few down years, it looks like the A’s might be back to their classic role as the dangerous dark horse.
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The Athletics came out of nowhere this year; they were a losing ballclub halfway through June. Since then, according to David Schoenfield of ESPN, Bob Melvin’s club has been one of baseball’s best teams, with a 49-20 record. Keep in mind that this is a team that consistently sends out journeymen Edwin Jackson, Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill to the mound.
It just doesn’t seem right! The Yankees have Luis Severino, a young ace who, earlier this season, led the Cy Young race; C.C. Sabathia, a resurgent veteran, and J.A. Happ, an All-Star acquisition. When the Yankees are healthy, their offense, on paper, is a modern-day Murderer’s Row.
Yet here we are. The Bombers are just 24-19 in the second half of the season. Most clubs would be happy to have a winning record. But the Yanks, after going 62-33 in the first half, have tumbled back to Earth.
The 2018 Yankees have become practically notorious for their struggles to beat winning teams. Most fans would argue that true contenders consistently find ways to beat other teams in the top half of the standings.
However, we haven’t gotten to see the Yankees at full strength in quite some time. Aaron Judge has been out since July 26, and he just began swinging a bat for the first time. His recovery remains impossible to predict. Aroldis Chapman continues to struggle with injuries and the Yanks can’t necessarily count on his return this season.
Maybe the Bombers will get healthy as the regular season nears its end. The sky is the limit when Aaron Boone has his ideal roster available. But, at the moment, the Bombers and the Athletics look like teams heading in opposite directions.