Yankees base running gaffes are becoming trend, not accident

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - MAY 17: Gio Urshela #29 of the New York Yankees warms up on the field before taking on the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field on May 17, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - MAY 17: Gio Urshela #29 of the New York Yankees warms up on the field before taking on the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field on May 17, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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The New York Yankees make confusing, absent-minded and flat-out strange outs on the bases unlike any other elite team — and that’s not even counting their propensity to hit into double plays.

They even found a way to knock a twin killing on Thursday afternoon with runners safely standing on first and third. We’ll get to that later.

The Bombers have gone on a run in May, winning games at an impressive rate while still not fully clicking.

The pitching? Yes. Absolutely. The defense? Oddly good, considering Tyler Wade the Outfielder and Miguel Andújar have been prominently involved. The offense? Rarely. Hit-and-miss, emphasis on the miss. The base running fundamentals? Intolerable.

Unfortunately, the little things do matter when the calendar turns to September and October. They definitely matter in tightly-contested divisional matchups against prepared teams like the Rays, offensive juggernauts like the Blue Jays, and Devil Magic Corps like the Alex Cora Red Sox.

Things can still change, but as of now, the Yankees have been inches short on the base paths (or wandering off into space) far too often for it to be accidental.

The Yankees’ base running issues have been wild and detrimental this season.

These gaffes have come in all shapes and sizes thus far. They’ve come from trusted players and targets of scorn like Wade and Mike Ford.

When Gio Urshela took off on a pitch in the dirt to Aaron Judge in the eighth (a pitch that made it a 3-0 count!), he needed to be absolutely certain he’d make it to third safely. Making the first and final outs at third are part of a baseball axiom, but you also shouldn’t make the second out there! Urshela was not only tardy, but he ended up grabbing a handful of cleat at a time when the Bombers’ injury depth has already been tested.

The team can’t deal with Urshela injuring himself on a preventable freak play at this juncture — well, not ever, but especially not now. We’re not sure why the Yankees are still “trying too hard” in the midst of a 14-5 stretch, but many of their best players certainly are.

The opposite of “trying too hard” is also … definitely happening more often than it should. Take a look at Ford here, walking into foul territory off third base and killing a rally all by himself.

Was he safe? Alternate angles indicate he might’ve been. Did Aaron Boone pocket his challenge here to teach Ford a lesson about foolishness? Also possible.

Something has to work, after all. Whether it’s trying to be Superman or trying to be Superman when he’s been rendered stupefied by kryptonite, the Yankees have a serious problem paying the right amount of attention on the bases this year.

This team has turned it around on the whole, proving a tough April can be discarded. We’re reaching the end of May, though, and they’re no closer to solving this fundamental flaw.