Can you believe the Orioles are still leading the AL East? With a smaller payroll and thus far outstanding pitching, the Yankees find themselves looking up at the O’s and the Rays. Last time we took a look at the positives of this Yankee club and now it’s time for the fun part: complaining. While the situation doesn’t look dire as of yet, the Bombers don’t have the feel of a champion this season. Let’s take a look at some of the issues.
The injury bug has infected the Yankee clubhouse, especially the pitching staff. The biggest acquisition of the off season, Michael Pineda, is on the shelf and didn’t even see the field in 2012 turning the luxury of a staff that runs seven deep into another group of questions behind CC Sabathia. The strength of the club was clearly the bullpen, which covers up a lot of blemishes in the starting staff, but now the Yanks are losing relievers faster than the Red Sox start new controversies. David Robertson seemed a natural to move up from the setup role into the closing role, but now he is on the 15 day DL with an oblique injury. The Yankees seem confident that the injury won’t keep him out longer than the 15 days, but how long will it take him to be back to form? Now Rafael Soriano is in the closing role forcing everyone else into a more prominent role. Everyone includes Freddy Garcia, who has pitched well in relief appearances. Ivan Nova twisted his ankle in his last start, but it doesn’t look like he will miss a start.
The rest of the roster seems relatively unscathed thus far although Brett Gardner suffered a major setback in his return from injury. It looks like he is at least
two weeks away and his absence has changed the tenor of the Bombers’ offense. It is a boom or bust lineup capable of hitting it out of the park, but incapable of scratching across a run or two in a tight ballgame. Nick Swisher, Mark Teixiera, A-Rod, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano are all sub .250 with runners in scoring position. Tex warned the league that he was going to hit the other way, even if it meant dropping a bunt, to beat the shift. Nobody headed his warning and he hasn’t made good on it. They still shift and he still hits straight into the teeth of that shift. You never want to take the bat out of the hands of a guy with his power, but down a few runs late in the game they need base runners.
Jeter is cooling off from his hot start. In his past 10 games the Captain is hitting .256 with only two multi-hit games. He is coming back to earth, which was to be expected and now somebody else has to step up. Eduardo Nunez and Gardner were off to hot starts, but Nunez was such a defensive liability in the infield as well as in the outfield that he was sent down to the minors. Without those two guys, the Yanks have no spark plug guys, who can be threats on the base path. Every fan has their favorite player and their favorite goat and mine is Russell Martin. The guy just can’t hit! The Yankees aren’t committed to him long term, but they traded away Montero, so what is the plan at catcher? I like him as a ballplayer because I think he brings a savvy and the effort. He needs to figure it out at the plate to at least get above the Mendoza line.
There are a lot of players on their last year of their current deal, unfortunately they aren’t named A-Rod. The Yankees are married to this team for this season and without Gardner out there, they look old, slow and creaky.
Who is to blame for the Yankees struggles offensively? Which injury hurts them the most? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.