Juan Soto's absence vs Dodgers emboldened 2023 Yankees concerns

Don't let that negativity overshadow a good season!
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Yankees
Los Angeles Dodgers v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

New York Yankees fans were on one this past weekend after the team dropped the first two games of the series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Though many complaints had validity, there was no reason to act like the sky was falling with the team sitting at 45-21 even after the back-to-back losses.

There was also no reason to freak out when Juan Soto didn't pinch hit on Friday after just being ruled out with forearm tightness that many were wondering could jeopardize his season. The same people assuming the worst then quickly jumped to the front of the line to exclaim "why isn't he in the game right now?!"

All that insanity aside, Friday and Saturday provided a sobering reminder of how bad things could be when the right people aren't in the lineup. Soto's absence probably sent a quick shockwave through the starting nine, which resulted in four runs scored across those two games.

If the Yankees aren't the worst team ever, they'll be able to weather a prolonged storm without Soto or Aaron Judge. There's enough talent here to figure it out.

Then again, for a brief moment, fans had PTSD flashbacks to 2023, when it was Aaron Judge and ... nobody else in what ended up being an 82-80 season.

Juan Soto's absence vs Dodgers emboldened 2023 Yankees concerns

In the offseason, many Yankees fans (and outside dissenters) didn't give Brian Cashman credit. "This is just the 2023 lineup with Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo!" Uhh ... yes? That's a massive 22% change to the starting nine? Defensive upgrades as well. What are we missing?

Those whiners had their one shining moment for a 24-hour span when the Yankees failed to produce a shred of an offensive threat in those first two games. But then came Sunday, and the Yankees knocked around Tyler Glasnow to score six runs and capture a victory on Sunday Night Baseball. That was the response needed to silence growing concerns about what the offense might look like without Soto. Are things perfect? No. Is this team merely adjusting 35% of the way through the season? Yes.

Any team would experience an adjustment period if their best or second-best hitter was abruptly sidelined for a period of time. Maybe two or three players in the entire sport would be able to replicate Soto's presence and production. So, we'd say the initial overreaction was short-sighted and hyperbolic, which is not how we want to behave in the midst of a 46-21 campaign.

Were most fans worried there for a second? We'd probably say yes. Everybody knows how difficult it is to endure nine innings of awful baseball. But those of us that were able to last through Sunday without blowing a gasket were the real winners. We saved it for our journal entries, not for the public forum.

We know the potential pitfalls here, but we're not going to send ourselves into a spiral at the first sign of a downturn. Baseball is both cyclical and uncertain at the same time. Get used to the grind. Acting like this won't help you survive it.