This is a promise. A pledge. An outright guarantee. For as long as you watch the game of baseball — and we don’t blame you if that streak ends sometime in the middle of 2021 — you will never see as stunning a team-wide regression as what the Yankees have provided us this season.
It’s over. The season. The era. The fantasy and the fallacy of a comeback. It’s done and dusted, thanks to a sequence of events no one could’ve predicted because — and again, this is important — they have never happened at this frequency before.
DJ LeMahieu reverting to a solid singles-and-occasional-doubles hitter rather an an MVP candidate?
Sure. Maybe we saw it coming in Year 3 or 4, not Year 1, but yeah, that’s reasonable. We’d still take that extension if offered.
But what about Gleyber Torres hitting six homers between 2020 and 2021 after a 38-homer 2019 season? What about Torres, at age 24, posting the type of peripherals that align him with the bottom of the league, as opposed to hard-hit rates that veered into the red in 2018?
He cleaned up his plate discipline, and then he never hit the ball out of the infield again.
God is laughing at the New York Yankees.
What about Clint Frazier? The top prospect with the quick bat speed of legends who was a Gold Glove finalist in 2020. Gold Glove! The award for fielding! In 2021, he has been the worst-performing regular outfielder in baseball, unable to put leather on baseball or wood on baseball. If you threw him seven consecutive changeups diving low and away, he’d miss eight of them.
Thank goodness Luke Voit woke up the offense! Thank goodness Miguel Andújar turned things around! Aren’t we glad we kept Domingo German? And signed Corey Kluber? And found Giancarlo Stanton in the middle of a hot streak? And finally got Gerrit Cole, who’s cheating in a way MLB will never police? If not for them, this season would really be in the toilet!
Except none of those things I listed lasted any longer than two weeks. Nothing Gold Glove Finalist Clint Frazier can stay. This horrid team, which went 23-9 just a few weeks back to vault into AL East contention, has since been pronounced as dead as a doornail thanks to a series of endless backslides the likes of which we promise you’ll never see on a team-wide basis ever again.
On Monday, the 2021 Yankees lost the same game they’ve already lost nearly 40 times before. Facing a pitcher with a 6.68 ERA, the game was tied at two in the second. Michael King allowed a pair of first-inning runs, as he does every five days. That opposing pitcher, Dylan Bundy, threw up on the back of the mound and was replaced by a reliever who posted an ERA over 37.00 in the shortened 2020 season.
He threw 5.1 two-hit innings, allowing only a home run to Giancarlo Stanton. The deficit was cut to 4-3 before DJ LeMahieu, as the cutoff man, threw a relay to home to reliever Chad Green, who was backing up the play five feet behind Gary Sanchez.
The Angels went 0-10 with RISP in this game, doing their best Yankees impression. The Yankees only went 0-4. Admirable. Perhaps one of their better games of the season.
They lost, though. Nobody has gotten better since 2019, despite the addition of Cole. The same voices will still be here tomorrow. Nothing will change. It’s not getting any better. Not with this roster. They will put 8-10 runners on base tomorrow. They will knock in two or three of them. Shohei Ohtani pitches Wednesday. Once upon a time, the Yankees were the favorite to sign him … until he said he’d sign anywhere except here. Perhaps that was a sign. Then the team with a 6-7 right fielder with shoulder problems pivoted to a trade for a 6-6 left fielder with everything problems instead of addressing any of their myriad issues.
Now we’re here. The “core” has regressed, one-by-one. Their 2016 sell-off season has provided us a shortstop who defies science and a catcher who is probably top-four in the American League, but will likely find himself traded soon.
Oh, and the Red Sox — a team that ostensibly wasn’t trying to win this year — is 48-31. Enjoy your summer. This is how nihilists are born.