To say that the New York Yankees have struggled over the last five games is a severe understatement. Every aspect of the ballclub has displayed drastic weakness. Everything ranging from the top-notch defense played through the early part of the season. All the way through the mental focus and acuity. If the Yankees have any hope of catching the Boston Red Sox in the AL East Division (9 1/2 game lead) they must play better. Just last week after the first game in this four-game set we spoke of the “Lifelessness” in the Yankees play. And it only got worse throughout the four games.
I would like to think that this is just a blip in the season, a rough point in the play of an otherwise championship caliber team. However, over the last few weeks, everything has been going against the Bronx Bombers. The loss of Aaron Judge has been a huge blow to the team. His consistent performances night after night, as well as his ability to strike fear into an opposing pitcher, has been lost. Yes, Giancarlo Stanton is still in this lineup. Yes, the Yankees have more players that are threats to hit home runs. They lead all of MLB in that category with 175 bombs. Twenty more than the second place Los Angeles Dodgers. Yet without their leader in long balls, the Yanks have struggled.
Getting Back To Basics
Early in the season when the Yankees were struggling in the field, similar to how they are doing now, Manager Aaron Boone held a fielding session for the players. It seems that another session is in order. In the same way that the fielding has been suffering the Yanks are also struggling mightily with driving in runners in scoring position. This has been an ongoing story for the Yankees over the last several years. And it inconsistent monster continues to rear it’s ugly head here in 2018.
You Live By The Sword, You Die By The Sword
The problem with hitting so many home runs is that the team becomes dependent on the long ball. Instead of just trying to put the ball in play, the entire team attempt is the “Earl Weaver Special” the three-run home run with no one on base. If the Bronx Bombers don’t hit home runs they don’t score runs plain and simple. And that was never more evident than this weekend’s series against Boston.
If that Yankees are to rebound and get themselves back into the Division race they will need to follow the model set forth by their rival Red Sox and put the ball in play. For example in last nights game, the Yankees had bases loaded in the top of the 7th inning and Aaron Hicks put the ball in play. Hicks hit a hard grounder back up the middle the ball was misplayed by Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts and two runs scored. Again I must reiterate that if the Yankees have any hopes of finding their way back into the division race they have to get back to playing fundamental baseball.