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Are The Yankees World Series Hopes Dead?

Tommy Kahlne
Yankees pitcher Tommy Kahlne watching the Red Sox celebrate their June 5 game winner. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

New York is not a title contender right now

The New York Yankees are losing their way. The beginning of their season reminded folks of the Yankees of old. By mid-June, they were sitting at 50-22, good enough for a 3.5-game lead for first in the AL East. However, mid-June was the last time the Yankees looked competent, much less a contender. Since June 14, the Yankees have only won four games, and lost fourteen. Last night they imploded against a surging, but still average, Boston Red Sox. What’s their deal?

There is a very serious lack of hustle on the Bronx squad. Lazy base running cost the Yankees a run against the Red Sox last night, a run that would have prevented extra innings and New York’s embarrassing loss to their arch rivals. Anthony Volpe, for reasons unknown, decided to stop running and watch the worst infield in baseball turn a double play on his own team. Trent Grisham earned a chorus of boos for this mind-boggling low effort play against the Reds on Thursday afternoon. He turned a routine single into a double. The Yankees went on to lose this game 8-4.

New York’s pitching staff deserves blame in this decline as well. Since that June 14 high mark, the Yankees have given up 5 or more runs in 13 different games. They are 1-12 in these games, with their only win coming courtesy of a 16-run onslaught against Toronto on June 28. Opponents have ten 10+ hit games against the Yankees in this stretch. The team ERA on June 14 was 2.88. Since then, they have posted the MLB’s worst team ERA at 6.49.

Just as the Yankees begin to slip, other teams in their division are moving up. The Baltimore Orioles sit atop the AL East right now, boasting a 56-32 record after winning 7 of their last 10. The Red Sox, whose season started unremarkably, are also moving their way up in the ranks. Just a few weeks ago, Boston was fighting for a low wild card spot. After defeating the Yankees last night, the Red Sox are nearly 10 games above .500, and are also winners in 7 of their last 10 games.

If this style of play persists, there is no way the Yankees are a serious playoff threat, much less title contenders. No amount of home runs from Judge, Stanton, or Soto can overcome horrendous pitching, poor defense, and low effort. Will Gerrit Cole‘s return to the lineup rejuvenate New York’s rotation? Probably not. I think the Yankees’ problem lies within management. Aaron Boone seems completely unwilling to hold his guys accountable. Despite their refusals to play good baseball, Anthony Volpe and Trent Grisham both remain in the lineup for the Yankees today. Boone has so far managed to turn some stellar Yankees lineups into nothing- no pennants, no championships, no parades. The Boone Yankees seem destined to show promise, then fall short. I see no reason why this season would play out differently.

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