For the first time in the campaign, the New York Yankees They have shown signs of vulnerability in recent weeks, caused mainly by a series of injuries to several of their main figures and also by a poor execution of their relievers.
And what a month ago was a 14-game lead in the American League East Division leadership, today the difference with second place (Toronto) has dropped to 10, a gap that is still wide and forceful, but that reflects a somewhat dangerous trend for New Yorkers, with seven weeks of competition remaining.
On July 11 they had the best record in the Majors at 61-25. A month later they do it 71-41, being the fourth best record in the Majors and the second in the American, behind the Houston Astros (72-41). The Los Angeles Dodgers (77-33) and their neighbors Mets (73-39) have the best two marks in the Major Leagues.
The Yankees were even the first team to reach 70 wins (70-34).
Since the All-Star break, the Yankees are 7-12 and have lost eight of the last 10 meetings. They’ve also lost five of the seven series they’ve held since then against teams playing over .500 (Houston, Mets, St. Louis and Seattle, twice).
“I know what everyone is doing night in and night out because I follow the games,” manager Aaron Boone recently told the Daily News of the league’s other rivals.
“Our focus is to win games. We cannot worry about what others do. This is about us. We are on a losing streak and we are focused on heading in the right direction.”
In such a long season of 162 games in the regular phase, it is normal and to a certain extent obligatory that teams go through situations like this. That they have offensive slumps, tired arms and that unwanted injuries arrive.
The Yankees have suffered a bit of everything lately, but it has been the health condition of some of their players that has affected the behavior of the team.
Giancarlo Stanton, who is hitting .228 with 24 homers and 61 RBIs, has been out of action since July 24 with left Achilles tendonitis. Since his departure, the Yankees are 6-10.
Starter Luis Severino hasn’t pitched since mid-July with a lat muscle strain, and isn’t expected to be back until mid-September. Reliever Miguel Castro is also out with an injury.
Anthony Rizzo, who has 27 home runs so far this season, was sidelined for several challenges due to lower back soreness. New York went 1-4 in his absence. He returned to the game on Wednesday.
The latest major injury is to Matt Carpenter, one of the team’s most opportune hitters. The veteran left-handed slugger suffered a fractured left foot on Tuesday. Although he won’t have to have surgery, he will miss six to eight weeks so it could be anticipated that he will be back by the end of the season.
Carpenter, who has to wear a boot, is hitting .305 with 15 homers and 37 RBIs in 47 games.
“This is our group now and we have everything we need in this clubhouse,” Boone added.
“Obviously we’ll have some back from the disabled list and things like this happen, but I want to remind you that we’re here to complete that goal, which is to win the championship,” he said.
“That is our focus. I think we are in a good position knowing that we are playing with good teams right now. We know that we have several key players out, but I have a lot of confidence in the players that we have there in their places. I know we are close to coming back strong again.”
Collectively, the Yankees remain ahead and among the best in their league in several of the most important offensive lines. They lead the Majors in home runs with 190 and in RBIs with 565. They also lead the Majors in runs scored with 591 and in bases on balls received with 445.
Aaron Judge remains a hitting machine with 45 home runs and 99 RBIs, leading both departments in the Majors.
The collective average is at .244 – sixth in his league. They have the second highest run difference number at +204 trailing only the Los Angeles Dodgers at +236.
The pitching hasn’t been as dominant as it was in the beginning, especially the relievers. In the last six games, for example, the bullpen has allowed 11 runs and handed out 13 free walks in 20 innings. Closer Clay Holmes hasn’t been as dominant in his recent outings with a 9.00 ERA this month.
Still, the team ERA is good at 3.30, second-best in the AL.