Right now, this is not fun to watch. After the Yankees took three out of four and nearly swept the Texas Rangers, it was easy to assume that was the battle for home field advantage and New York looked superior. Since then, New York has only taken a series from the Red Sox and Indians. They were embarrassed in Chicago, lost two out of three to the Jays and Orioles and now dropped an opener to the Rays. One division team and three teams chasing them.
Over the course of the past two weeks, the Yankees have blown it in the ninth, eighth and seventh innings. CC Sabathia, David Phelps, and Phil Hughes have all thrown clunkers to take the team out of a start. Hiroki Kuroda has given up three runs in the first two innings, twice. Joba Chamberlain and Derek Lowe have given up a run in virtually every appearance. David Robertson and Rafael Soriano have both blown games to lose.
The Yankees have scored just one run in a game on four separate occasions during that stretch of 16 games. The “Bronx Bombers” have scored three runs or less in half of its games, losing six of the eight contests. They have given up six runs or more in a game seven times.
In 25% of the past 16 games, the Yankees have scored enough runs to win a shutout.
In 50% of the games the Yankees have scored enough runs to tie a quality start with three perfect innings from a bullpen.
In seven out of 16 games, the Yankees would have needed to score at least seven runs to win.
That’s the reality of how this team has played for two and a half weeks. That’s the reality of why the division is down to one game and why the White Sox, Tigers, Orioles, Athletics and Rays all seem like better teams at this point. In fact, the Yankees are 7-18 against those teams since June 28th combined, and have not won a single series outright.
It has been mentioned this stretch of 10 games against the Orioles and Rays could be the turning point. The Yankees have started 1-3 and the bullpen has blown two of the three losses.
It’s not a time to panic because every team in the league has flaws. The Rangers have pitching issues, the Orioles and A’s continue to win with no-names who can easily regress, the Rays have a habit of power outages and the White Sox and Tigers have had rotation issues.
Even if the Yankees fall three or four back by the off day on September 10th (which would mean Baltimore gaining four or five more games over the next six games) the Yankees would still have three games against the Rays and 16 of the final 22 games against teams under .500 and playing out the string.
It’s not a time to panic, but it is a time to be angry. The New York Yankees need to find ways to win games right now. That’s what elite teams do. That’s what New York has been able to do almost every year since 1995.
With no more safety net for the wildcard (Orioles, Rays, White Sox and Athletics are all fighting for it), that’s what needs to happen soon.