New season, same haunting issue. The New York Yankees, despite a number of big name bats scattered throughout their lineup, have once again found themselves in murky waters offensively.
The Yankees have changed hitting coaches, injected new players into the roster and also started a youth movement in the Bronx but despite those efforts the Yankees are cursed with a dreaded hex on their production with Runners In Scoring Position (RISP). It’s been the same-ole, same-ole in New York for the past few seasons.
This is nothing new to Yankee fans who have had to suffer their inept hitting with runners on base for several seasons (documented in 2012 ) and their struggles against left-handed pitching.
In the small sample size that has been the 2016 MLB regular season it’s evident the Yankees simply haven’t improved, and some would argue they are markedly worse, hitting with RISP and have continued being dominated against lefty pitchers.
The constant struggles have New York positioned last in the AL East and many fans are coming to a the sobering realization that this could be a brutal season to live through if the Yankees continue down this path.
It’s true that the Yankees could turn it around and solve their issues, but these issues have been prevalent for so many years it’s hard imagining they can magically snap out of it with a team meeting, some tweaks by the hitting coach, a shuffling of the lineup or a pep-talk by manager Joe Girardi.
Take this into account; in their last three series, against the Tamp Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners, the Yankees posted a 3-6 record. But that’s not the key issue, they left 76 runners on base combined in those three series. Against Seattle they left 12 runners on base in one game only to leave 14 runners on base in the same series. They left 8 or more runners on base in 5 of the 9 games I’m referencing.
All at Yankee Stadium, a hitters park.
Now, there is plenty of viable blame to go around. You can point to a number of Yankees and their abysmal batting averages such as Alex Rodriguez (.145), Mark Teixiera (.220), Chase Headley (.149) and a number of others, but that still wouldn’t be anything more than critical banter.
The fact is simple, the Yankees are paying a premium for bats that simply aren’t elite (or aren’t elite anymore) and have failed to bring along viable players in their farm system.
The Yankees are delusional, thinking that this type of play would net a winning season or even land them a playoff berth. They were fortunate that last season turned out the way that it did, kind of like the old saying goes; “Every now and then a blind squirrel gets a nut”.
It’s become a harsh state of reality for the Bronx Bombers and one that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
With aging and declining veterans such as A-Rod, Teixeira and Beltran still leaned on heavily and with 32+ players such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner and Brian McCann looking down a similar path in the near future, the best thing for the Yankees may be an abysmal season.
That way, maybe New York’s hands will be tied and they will have no choice but to pass the baton on to the likes of Aaron Judge, Rob Refsnyder and Gary Sanchez for the next generation of baseball’s most popular franchise.
It’s not to suggest that a more prominent youth movement is a magical solution to what has ailed the Yankees for so long, but staying the current course of delusional thinking that aging and oft-injured players will carry New York to another World Series championship is simply counter-productive.
Maybe the Yankees can turn it around on their own and the blind squirrel finds the nut yet again, but it seems that the squirrel is too old and tired to do much of anything these days.