“Oh no, here we go again,” said YES Announcer David Cone after the Minnesota Twins scored two quick runs in about 25 pitches against Yankee starter Jordan Montgomery in the first inning of the three game stint. The Yankees have lost 10 of the last 13 games and are rapidly falling in the standings. I think we have all been saying this, but let’s repeat it. The Yankees need to do more than rely on lofty home runs and a robust bullpen. Their assessment of fundamentals is Needs Improvement on the likert scale. Let’s take a look a little closer at the issues plaguing this team.
I think Bryan Hoch really nailed things down nicely in his assessment of the Yankees in his most recent article in his newsletter Yankee Beat on Tuesday. “Scoring runs was never supposed to be a problem for this team, which was lauded as one of the American League’s most promising offensive juggernauts. The Yankees talked about regaining their standing as “savages” this spring, their code word for controlling the zone and making opponents throw hittable pitches, then passing the baton to the next batter if they didn’t see anything they liked. Any of the recent games serve as evidence that it has not worked out the way we predicted in Spring Training,” said Hoch.
I think we would all agree, that starting pitching and consistency of Aaron Judge at the plate have been the Yankees at their finest for the latter part of May, but June has been nothing short of disastrous. Specifically, Hoch calls out these three shifts the Yankees need to make to turn this thing around.
As much as I hate to say it, there needs to be a change in centerfield. With Aaron Hicks out, Mike Tauchman traded to San Francisco, the Yankees need to bring in a center fielder who can hit with consistency and throw out runners instead of hitters testing Brett Gardner‘s arm in the outfield. Whether the Yankees bring someone up or trade for someone stronger, the center field position is clearly an exposed weakness for the Yankees.
Hoch is calling for DJ LeMahieu to start igniting his inner Derek Jeter. LeMahieu needs to get that “inside-out, Derek Jeter-like swing that peppers the ball with authority to right-center field” going if the Yankees are going to get going. Currently, the Yankees Le Machine is hitting well below his average for this time of year. He gets going, and the Bombers get going.
Finally, it comes down to laying off the mental errors and getting back to the basics. “We’d love to see the Yankees play a smarter, more fundamental brand of baseball, cutting down on the unnecessary outs on the basepaths – Gary Sánchez has been a principal offender in this recent stretch. The Yanks have made 28 outs on the bases this season, most in the Majors and nearly twice the league average.” Add the double-plays, and lack of home runs, the Yankees are set up for disaster.
This is the Yankee assessment we need to hear, or rather the team needs to hear and start taking the feedback to heart. The Yankees will go nowhere this season if these fundamental changes do not happen. It does not matter if Gerrit Cole wins 20 games or Giancarlo Stanton miraculously hits 50 home runs. If the Yankees do not play good baseball day after day, the anomalies of one of two guys are not going to make up for it.
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