June 15, 2021

Schadenfreude 299: (A Continuing Series)

Joel Sherman, Post:

The season is 60 percent full.

That stands as Yankee optimism right now. That more than half the season remains to honor their pedigree and payroll.

But that is it.

Because the 40 percent of the schedule that has been played has been so empty. . . .

[T]his is not a one-year thing. The Yankees had the AL's sixth-best record in the 60-game season last year. Watching them, did you think that club was going to play better if there were the usual 100 more games in front of them? These Yankees finished the weekend tied for the AL's eighth-best record with the Mike Trout-less Angels. So even if MLB had gotten its wish rather than rejection from the Players Association to have seven teams make the playoffs in each league, the Yankees would not currently qualify.

And playoff admittance is not as liberal this season. It is back to five teams per league. So the Yankees were not just 8¹/₂ games behind the Rays in the AL East. They were four back of the second wild card. It is not insurmountable with that 60 percent of the season remaining. But even if the second wild card necessitates 93 wins, the Yankees will have to play .619 ball from here forward. Do you see a 60-37 run in this version of the Yankees with all their flaws on the bases, on defense and with athleticism?

The Yankees began hitting better recently — maybe it is just coincidence that it coincides with greater scrutiny of pitchers using illegal sticky substances on the ball. But once they faced a top righty starter, Philadelphia's Aaron Nola on Sunday, the righty-laden lineup went meek again. Also the Yankee pitching is in the midst of its worst run of the season — maybe it is just coincidence that it coincides with greater scrutiny toward pitchers using illegal sticky substances on the ball.

And the Yankees now have three games in Buffalo against the Blue Jays, first in the majors in homers and third in runs per game. Toronto and especially Tampa Bay still have internal options to improve in the way that the Yankees do not — unless Hal Steinbrenner is going to let the club blow by the $210 million luxury tax threshold and/or Brian Cashman is about to become more willing to sacrifice the best of his prospect base to find outside trade answers.

So, yes, the Yankees have 60 percent of a season to right themselves . . . But is there anything about the 40 percent of the season played so far by this defect-heavy team that makes you feel a 60-percent solution is in the future?

Dan Martin, Post:

You can point to a lot of reasons why the Yankees are this far into the season and staring at an 8½-game deficit in the AL East, in fourth place and with questions mounting about the future of their season.

Only the Tigers have scored fewer runs in the American League. The starting pitching . . . has regressed the past couple of weeks.

They've also grounded into a major-league high 64 double plays and have a minus-7 run differential.

But there's another category in which they "lead" the league that is also a concern.

Despite being a team that lacks speed, the Yankees have been thrown out on the bases 31 times. Entering Monday, Oakland and Texas are next worst at 23 and the league average is 18. . . .

In each of Aaron Boone's first three seasons as manager, the Yankees were either below or just above the league average.

The latest culprit was Rougned Odor, caught between second and third on a grounder to shortstop in Sunday’s blowout loss in Philadelphia. . . .

And as bad as some of the offensive stats are, few things look worse than a team repeatedly making mistakes on the basepaths.

Gary Sanchez, Clint Frazier and Gio Urshela have all made obvious gaffes. . . .

The odd part is that it's generally a new problem with old players. . . .

No matter the reasons, the Yankees still need to improve quickly.

"All I can tell you is we're grinding over this as much as we can," Boone said Sunday of the team's myriad issues. . . .

The results have yet to follow.

Their next three games come against the Blue Jays at their temporary home at Sahlen Field. Toronto is part of a robust AL East and the Yankees enter Tuesday just 14-21 versus opponents in their division and 16-21 when facing teams with a record over .500.

1 comment:

allan said...

I realize JoS has been a bit Schadenfreude heavy this season. The lack of game recaps is one reason, but it's also because the Yankees have sucked so much. It's somewhat unavoidable. In the past I have sometimes held off and considered combining two (or three) days of misery into one post, but the risk is they might win a game and then the stuff in draft becomes old news. So you might just have to endure reading about how regularly the MFY are stepping on rakes and face-planting.