New York Yankees' Early-Season Struggles Are a Good Thing

Natasha ArtaviaContributor IMay 28, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 25:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by Raul Ibanez #27 and Robinson Cano #24 after he hit a two run home run in the third inning against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum on May 25, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Everyone knows that going wire-to-wire is not only a rare event, but when applied to baseball, with its 162 games and intense physical and mental strains on its players, the chances are slim to none.

But even with the odds stacked high against the New York Yankees, the struggles they have faced so far this season could be a good thing, since it’s still early and there’s still a little over a month before the All-Star break to get back in to shape.

So the Yankees haven’t been doing so well. In fact, they have had two months of some grueling and devastating baseball. Coming in to May, the legacy club was 13-9, batting .273 and had grimacing 4.33 ERA.

Then May began and tragedy hit. Mariano Rivera tore his right ACL on May 4, ending his season early. Shortly afterward, his replacement, David Robertson, strained his left oblique muscle and landed on the 15-day DL.

Add these injuries to the silence from their bats, and the Yankees have struggled to gain momentum and the climb up from last place in the AL East has been long dragged out.

With the absence of Brett Gardner, who has been out due to an elbow injury since April 17, and lack of batting prowess from Mark Teixeira (.254), Nick Swisher (.248) and Alex Rodriguez (.279), the silence has been deafening.

However, history shows that the team has persevered from ruts similar to this one.

Case in point, the 2009 season in which the Yankees, who were 29-22 by the end of May, went on to end the season with a 103-59 record and win the World Series for the 27th time in the club’s history.

So who’s to say that the Yankees won’t do exactly that?

Or, at least make it to the postseason?

The past five games have finally sparked some life into the club. Their longest winning streak so far this season, with two wins at home to take the series over the Kansas City Royals and a sweep at the Stadium against the Oakland Athletics, is hopefully a tell-tale sign that things are starting to turn around.

This past weekend’s performances, combined with the win against the Royals, helped pull the Yankees out of the depths of last place in the AL East and pushed them into third place, with a 26-21 record, 2.5 games out from second behind the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays, both of whom are tied for first with a 29-19 record.

The Yankees are not out the championship race just yet.

They have proved time and time again that they have the talent, the knowledge and the drive to reach the postseason, if not a World Series.

Yes, Teixeira has been in a slump since April and has only begun to show stronger signs of life at the plate with the sweep in Oakland. The series ended on a high note for Teixeira, who averaged .600 with three home runs and seven RBI.

The series at Oakland also provided the team with echoes of the stellar pitching staff that makes up part of their roster. Hiroki Kuroda performed a season best on Sunday, allowing only four hits over eight innings, gaining the win for the Yankees, 2-0.

Their timing could not have been better. Starting Monday, the Yankees will face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a three-game series in Orange County.

If the past five games have done anything to prove that the Yankees can and will bounce back, it will show Monday night as the Yankees offense goes up against Jered Weaver (6-1, 2.61 ERA).

Until the Yankees are mathematically out of the race for the AL East, there’s still time for the club to bounce back.