Watching the Yankees the past week has been an emotional chore. They’ve set a team record by allowing more than 73 runs in their last 7 games, not exactly the sort of record you want to set.
They can still score runs, if not enough to win, and they had some nice comebacks against the Twins, early on in this ongoing slog. But the Red Sox decimated them.
The pitching? Awful. Just awful. No one consistently pitches effectively. While sporting a weak starting rotation all year, they managed to finesse a wonderful record by a stars-all-align combo of people like German stepping up, across-the-board solid performances by overused bullpen names, and a lot of breaks going their way.
But these are the sorts of things that catch up with a team down the post-All Star break stretch, through August, when team pitching strength really makes the difference in which teams fade, collapse, or get to the finish line strong, ready for October battles between strong starting rotations.
Every team I can think of that started out the first half or 2/3 of the year looking amazing and then falling apart and collapsing by the end of the season all have the same thing in common: weak pitching. The ’64 Phillies overused their 2 main starters and blew a 6 1/2 game lead with only 12 to play. The ’69 Cubs, ’78 Red Sox, ’07 Mets, ’11 Red Sox… all cruised along early in the season, only to wither and fall by the wayside during the August-September stretch, all because of mediocre to poor pitching.
This week makes me think the 2019 Yankees could be added to this list – they got a 9 game lead right now, flirted with the best overall record in baseball, looked good against likely October competition like Houston, Tampa or Minnesota… but this past week… ugh. They look like crap.
CRAP I TELLS YA!
They have no stopper in the starting rotation. You won’t find a Guidry to chalk up a majority 25 wins after a Yankee loss like in ’78. When the bullpen door opens, Rivera will not appear to ensure the game is over, victory secured. Their best starter, German, seems effective but his win-loss record is a tad deceptive since they’ve come back in a few games where he got blown out early. Guidry he is not.
I thought they might stand pat before the trade deadline, but now it’s looking very likely they deal before the stroke of midnight July 31 for a starter, and the other teams know the price is going up for the Yankees when they’re playing like this. They’ll most likely give up some of the younger players and prospects I like just to get some above .500 pitcher with an ERA below 5, and that’s not good.
Severino, Montgomery and Bettances might come back before season’s end… but the odds of any of them being in top form after being injured so long are slim.
Can they rebound from this week’s doldrums? Sure, anything is possible. Signing some solid starter who rallies a clubhouse might happen. Standing pat, getting players back from the IL and coming together might happen.
I might also win the lottery. You never know. But in the meantime, Houston, Minnesota and Cleveland must be licking their chops.