The 2021 MLB season is almost halfway through June, and there are so many story lines to follow. But perhaps the most perplexing one, whether you are a fan or not, is how bad the New York Yankees have looked so far. The Yanks were the second odds-on favorite to win the World Series this season.
Well, the Bronx Bombers are currently 32-29, sitting 6.5 games back of first place in the AL East and 2.5 games back of the AL Wild Card.
When you look at the success of the other top teams in baseball, and then look at how the Yankees play the game, there is a glaring difference. The Yankees seem to be playing to hit home runs, while the other teams are playing to score runs.
Read that again.
Fans shouldn’t be surprised by this though. It is how this current roster was constructed to succeed. If they hit home runs, they win. If they don’t, they lose.
The Yankees finished April with a near .500 record, and then went 23-9 in their next 32 games. Things were looking up at that point, until they found themselves in a 3-10 in their next 13 slump. That kind of inconsistency is not going to get this club where they ultimately want to be.
Tack on a dismal 14-21 record against their division opponents, and the Yanks are showing a lot of red flags heading into the dog days of summer. Before we look at what has been bad, lets first eliminate what hasn’t been an issue for New York.
The Pitching Has Been Fine
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When you see the Yankees roster on paper, and then see their record, it’s fair to assume the pitching is the reason they are where they are. However, it’s the opposite.
The Yankees pitching staff has the 7th best ERA in baseball at 3.37. The have a top two WHIP with 1.10, trailing only the LA Dodgers. Their opponent batting average is .216, good for 4th best in the MLB, and they also have the 6th most strikeouts.
Ace Gerrit Cole is having a CY Young-caliber year so far, which was anticipated. He has a 2.26 ERA and has only given up 55 hits in 75 innings. Through his 12 starts he has struck out 104 batters, and leads the majors with a 1.91 FIP and leads the Yankees with a 2.8 WAR.
The only thing is the Yankees are 6-6 in Cole’s starts this season. That needs to change.
Closer Aroldis Chapman is having his best year as a Yankee so far, and maybe even the best of his career. It was said before the season started how crucial this season was for him, and he has been nothing but shut-down dominant for New York.
Aroldis Chapman this season 🔥
23 G, 23 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 43 SO, 11 BB, 0.39 ERA
— Talkin’ Yanks (@TalkinYanks) June 7, 2021
Add in Jonathan Loaisiga, who has a 1.99 in 32 innings, and the Yankees pitchers are holding their own.
And now brings the main problem with the Yankees this season, the reason they have been almost unwatchable some games.
Yanks Can’t Hit
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Plain and simple. The Yankees at times look like the worst offensive team in all of baseball. They are batting .230 as a team, which ranks 23rd in the MLB. For a team that was built to hit home runs, they rank 13th with 71. They also rank 11th in strikeouts.
But the worst number of all is the double plays. The Yankees have grounded out into more double plays this season than any other team. And for fans that watch just about every game, it seems like they always do it with zero outs or the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Yanks goes into these droughts where they can’t buy a run. The only team that has scored less runs than the Yankees in the American League this season is the Detroit Tigers, and they are 10 games below .500. The Baltimore Orioles have scored 19 more runs than New York this season, and they are 16 games under .500.
It truly baffles me when I type out these numbers.
The only bright spot this season offensively has been Aaron Judge. Judge is quietly having a great season. He leads the Yankees in games played (58), batting average (.286), OBP (.394), SLG (.529), home runs (14), RBI (34), and his 2.0 WAR trails only Cole.
Other players have had hot streaks here and there, but this team had yet to put a consistent product from batters 1-9 out on the diamond this season.
This obviously shouldn’t be happening considering the talent the Yankees have… but it is. It’s showing how severely flawed the Yankees are compared to the other top teams in the game. They are built to win only one way, and if that way doesn’t work they lose.
We are in June now folks. The whole “it’s still early” talk is gone.
Fans have expressed frustration towards Aaron Boone for his “cup half-full” approach towards his press conferences when the game had the worst outcome possible. If this team wants to avoid these reoccurring slumps, they need to address the blatant issues that are shown on a nightly basis.
So bottom line… it is going to be a long summer Yankees fans. There are going to be ups, and there are going to be plenty of downs. I wish there was more positives to point out, but at this point the only thing to do is try and be patient and hope these problems get sorted out. Soon.
Because if they don’t, the lights over at E 161 Street in the Bronx will be turned off come October.
Lifelong sports fan fulfilling a childhood dream. I’ll talk sports all day. Passion and hot takes are my thing… there’s always a story. Yankees. NY Giants. Knicks. Texas Longhorns. Yes… being a Knicks fan is rough, but my time will come (hopefully). Senior at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut.