With the Major League Baseball All-Star Game set to be held next week at Coors Field in Colorado, the playoff picture is becoming clearer by the day, and the New York Yankees are well out of the playoff picture at the moment.
As of July 6, the Yankees have 42 wins and 41 losses, which sets them at fourth place in the American League East. They are 10.5 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees have been beyond disappointing this season. Coming into the season, the Yankees had sky-high expectations. The team had a similar roster to last year’s, which nearly got them to a deep playoff push, and they added several new names. The Yankees added Corey Kluber, Darren O’Day and Jameson Taillon, and they brought back their MVP finalist, DJ Lemahieu. On paper, many scouts and experts had the Yankees as the favorite to win the American League this year.
While the Yankees have not been eliminated from the playoff race quite yet, they have a long road ahead to chase if they are going to make the playoffs. The Yankees have a decent shot at getting a wild-card spot; they are only 5.5 games out of a wild-card spot. However, if the Yankees are going to get a wild-card spot, they will have to address several issues with this team.
For starters, the Yankees have had disappointing starting pitching. After the first month of the season, the Yankees’ starting pitching was carrying the team. Gerrit Cole was the clear-cut favorite to win a Cy Young award with an Earned Run Average of just 1.43 at the end of April. Corey Kluber was pitching extremely well as the second starter for the Yankees, as he had just thrown a no-hitter. At the time, the back end of the rotation with Domingo German and Jordan Montgomery was also pitching extremely well. However, in the months of June and July, the starting pitching was beginning its downward spiral. Gerrit Cole had an ERA of 4.65 in June; Corey Kluber went down with an injury and is expected to be out until September; Domingo German had an ERA of 7.27 in June, and Jameson Taillon has a season ERA of 5.35 at the moment. For the season, the Yankees have a team ERA of 3.88, which is about average. However, since the month of June, the Yankees have had a team ERA of 5.33, the fifth-worst in baseball.
The Yankees’ bullpen has also been extremely disappointing. Famously, the Yankees have been known for always having a top-three bullpen. Having a dominant closer like Aroldis Chapman, with a great setup man like Zack Britton, and having dominant middle-relievers like Chad Green and Jonathan Loaisiga sounds solid on paper. However, it has been anything but successful. For two months, Aroldis Chapman put his name in the Cy Young race with an ERA of just 0.75 and nearly converted on each of his saves. However, in the month of June, he had an ERA of 11.42 and blew two critical saves. Zack Britton has been injured for most of the season. Darren O’Day has been injured. Wandy Peralta has been bad in the Yankees’ bullpen. The Yankees have had solid seasons from Chad Green and Jonathan Loaisiga; however, that is where the success ends.
The Yankees have had two more issues. The first is that their lineup has been beyond disappointing. The Yankees are famously called the ‘Bronx Bombers’ because of their elite hitting as a team. However, this season they are only hitting .235 and lead the league in double plays grounded into. The Yankees have had disappointing seasons from DJ Lemahieu, Luke Voit, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres, and Clint Frazier has the worst Wins Above Replacement (WAR) statistics in baseball. Frazier has a -1.3 WAR at the moment, meaning he has taken 1.3 wins away from the Yankees this season.
The final issue with the Yankees has been their coaching. Aaron Boone has officially put himself in the hot seat with how poorly the Yankees have performed this season. Boone has made several questionable decisions, such as constantly going back to a struggling closer in late-game situations and not making changes in lineups, and many fans have criticized the way that he has managed the bullpen this season. Boone is not the only one who is being criticized. Hitting coach Marcus Thames has been put in the hot seat due to how poorly the Yankees are hitting. Finally, several Yankees’ fans have called for Brian Cashman’s dismissal because they feel that the Yankees are so poorly constructed at the moment.
The Yankees are a mess at the moment. However, if they can manage to win six out of their final seven games before the All-Star Game, they will put themselves into the playoff race. They have an easier schedule, as they face off against the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros. The Yankees are due for some changes.