Yankees Turn Back the Clock a Little Too Far

First time in 20 years that Sox and Yanks bring up the rear

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Swinging and missing is all the rage with the Yankees.

    It has been 20 years since we've seen anything like this.

    The American League East standings at this hour feature the Red Sox in last place and the Yankees in next-to-last place. It is the first time since October 1, 1992 that things have unfolded this way, which means that it is fitting that the Blue Jays, who won it all that year, were the team bopping the Yankees down the ladder the last two days.

    Toronto swept the brief two-game series in a 4-1 win on Thursday night that continued the Yankees offense's season-long search for itself. If not for Phil Hughes, once the team's leading whipping boy, the game would have never been that close.

    Hughes allowed just a two-run home run to Jose Bautista in his 5.1 innings, giving the offense plenty of time to put some crooked numbers on the board and grab the lead for themselves. The Yankees went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, though, and they have now scored one run or less in nine games this season, tied for the most in the league.

    Mark Teixeira's cough has been hacking all season, but Teixeira himself remains lost at the plate. He was responsible for three of those eight failures with runners in scoring position and is pushing the limits of his own historically pathetic starts.

    Alex Rodriguez got the night off on Thursday, but that might not have made any kind of difference given how wrong his season has been. He's hitting a homer once in every 27.2 at-bats, continuing a slow, unyielding decline for a player who really needs to turn things around if he's going to still be considered a power hitter.

    The rest of the offense hasn't been quite as bad, but sandwiching two flailing players in the middle of everything is a good way to keep things from catching fire. When you throw in a rotation that's been shaky, to say the least, after CC Sabathia, you've got a team that has two three-game losing streaks in what's been a losing month overall.

    Here's the bright side to all of this, though. The Yankees have a little bit of everything go wrong for them thus far and they still sit at 20-18 in a division that no one is running away with a quarter of the way through the season.

    That doesn't mean that there's some brilliant run right around the corner, although it's hard not to look at the backs of the baseball cards of this lineup and believe that better days are still ahead. It's entirely possible that Rodriguez and Teixeira won't hit a bit this season, but it's not the likeliest outcome and the Yankees should take some solace in that point.

    They should also take some solace in the fact that Hughes pitched well again because the only way they are going to really set off on a streak is by getting consistently good starting pitching over a long stretch of time. The arrival of Pettitte and sparks of life from Hughes are two reasons to think that they could pull off such a run.

    As the natives get more restless, it's important to remember that this is still the team that everyone thought was going to the playoffs 38 games ago. Perspective can get lost when you're in the middle of the mess, but teams have been in far worse shape than this and gone on to have perfectly great seasons so we'd advise staying the course a little bit longer.

    If the Yankees' aimlessness doesn't fade away by the end of the month, that advice is going to start going stale. Memorial Day is a milepost that you can use for an actual snapshot of where teams stack up in terms of the bigger picture and for the sanity of the city the Yankees are urged not to pass it while they are still in fourth place.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.