The Yankees are 5-10 and in last place in the AL East. Nobody reasonable would think their season is doomed or that drastic action must be taken. New York media and fans are often not reasonable, however. There are those in the Twitterverse calling for Aaron Boone’s firing. Dave Cashman, for his part, says it’s too soon to go crazy, and he’s right. Teams have come back from such a start to have good seasons before. For example, the 1997 Yankees started 5-10 too, and ultimately won over 90 and made the playoffs. Again, though, that’s being reasonable while boos cascade down upon the team in Yankee Stadium. The fans even booed Gerrit Cole yesterday. They also threw balls and other things on the field Friday. It’s not just Twitter and grouchy fans in the stands: Joel Sherman’s column in the NY Post…”Extremely Worrisome Yankees Mess Warrants Changes.”
I read one report insisting that this isn’t just a problem with playing the Rays. So what is the problem? Well, for one, it really is dealing with the Rays. The Rays went 8-2 against them last year, beat them in the playoffs, and are 5-1 against them this season so far after sweeping the Yankees in the Bronx. Indeed, the Rays have won 7 straight series against the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers are not winning the division without changing that.
This, however, is not meant to be Raysfan1 trash talking the Yankees. In fact, let’s eliminate the Rays vs Yankees aspect. Take those games out, and the Yanks are 4-5. That’s not great, but nobody freaks out at a 4-5 start.
There are some roster problems in Yankee-land, though. First, Luke Voit’s injury hurts. With him out and Jay Bruce retired, DJ LeMahieu is holding down first base. He’s more than capable of that, but it means Rougned Odor is playing second. The drop off from LeMahieu to Odor is…umm…big. Also, Gary Sanchez is still their catcher. His .237 batting average would be his best in 4 years if he sustains it. Those two as half the up-the-middle defense isn’t going to strike fear into anyone. The pitching staff isn’t helping either, with a team ERA over 6 if you subtract Cole from the equation.
In 2019, the Yankees had record-settling bad luck with the injury bug, and got away with it because seemingly every sub played like an All Star. Normally replacement players play like replacement players, and that’s where they are now.
Their season is fixable. It is too soon for Yankees fans to panic…but they need to get healthy, and the pitchers have to prevent some runs. Yankees fans and media should also take a breath, remember it’s been almost 30 years since they last finished a season with a losing record. There are 29 other fan bases rolling their eyes at current Yankee fandom angst.