As the MLB All-Star break nears, the Yankees’ season remains up in the air. A shaky pitching rotation and inconsistent offense has led them to a 27-30 record overall, leaving them in fourth place in the American League East. Between Joe Girardi making questionable managerial decisions late in games and the offense having trouble racking up consistent runs, it could be another long season for Yankee fans.
There are a couple of factors that can be blamed for the shortcomings, and Girardi is highest on the list. Girardi has been criticized for some of his late-inning calls, especially when it comes to middle relief and closing pitchers. Early in this past weekend’s series with first-place Baltimore, he left starter Ivan Nova for much longer than he should have. Nova surrendered two 7th inning home runs, and his replacement, Nicky Goody fared no better by completing the trifecta, a three-run homer to center fielder Adam Jones. What should’ve been an easy 7-0 win, turned into an 8-6 nail-biter.
In Sunday night’s finale against the Orioles, Girardi called on relievers Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman to secure a 1-0 lead, but a rain delay and blown save by Chapman led to another loss. Grant it, this was Chapman’s first blown save in 10 chances, since returning from serving a 30-game suspension for an offseason domestic dispute, but what followed was unacceptable. In a throw to home plate from center field, the reliever failed to back up his catcher and cover home plate, as every pitcher is supposed to do in a play to the plate. Girardi was infuriated, but Chapman tried to defend himself by saying he felt there was “no chance of getting the guy out.” His manager wasn’t here for the excuses. It’s this kind of attitude that doesn’t make fans very confident that the Yankees can turn their season around.
Producing runs has been a major hurdle for the offense. It seems as if the pitchers get no support when they do well and the bats come alive when pitching is below average. Pitching and hitting are rarely in sync. Big bats from Jacoby Ellsbury (.288 batting average), Carlos Beltran (14 home runs, 36 RBI), and offseason pickup Starlin Castro (10 doubles) have been instrumental in keeping games afloat in the batter’s box.
Still, the concern stands with DH Alex Rodriguez, who turns 41 next month, and an oft-injured Mark Teixeira, lacking impact. Rodriguez has only played in 30 of the 57 games this season as a designated hitter, but hasn’t had quite the same impact as last season. Teixeira, 36, can’t seem to stay healthy as he lands on the disabled list once again with torn cartilage in his knee. Instead of getting the surgery as recommended, the Yanks are hoping rehab and treatment will have their aging first baseman back in three weeks. The harsh reality of it all is it may be time for Teixeira to retire, as pointed out in Forbes.
New York did make an effort to add some youth to their roster, lowering their average roster age from 30 to 29, but this small difference has yet to show results. After Monday’s 5-2 come from behind win, some are hopeful it could be the start of an offensive spark that is so desperately needed. I’ll believe it when I see it.
Kayla Solomon is a new contributor to AllSportsEverything.com. She attends Temple University for nine months out of the year, but will be here in New York all summer! Follow Kayla on Twitter at @dontKAYme, Instagram at @kayla_nyree. Also, find her writing weekly on blackaphillyated.com and on her personal blog, dearfuturekay.wordpress.com.