Right now "the New York Yankees" doesn’t have the same ring to it as it did in the start of the year. The Yankees have now lost five of their last seven games and have fallen to five games behind the Rays in the A.L. East.
The injury bug has been a real pest a majority of the season. But everyone kept talking about how important it was for other players to step up… and they were. Everyone was talking about how fantastic the starting pitching was for this club, and it certainly has been a big help.
But in the past week things are changing - add Jorge Posada to the list of injuries.
Then look at everyone else in the lineup. Francisco Cervelli, who I have talked up since February, is now batting just .227 during this seven-game skid. There isn’t much help around him. Derek Jeter is batting just .250 in the last week, Gardner is batting .233, Teixeira is batting .138, Randy Winn is hitting just .273, in addition to his misplayed ball in Saturday night’s loss.
Nick Swisher has finally found himself back in the lineup and is hitting lefty again, but he looks a little lost after the missed time.
But really, the starting pitching seems to be the unanimous answer for the recent success the Yankees, despite the dramatic difference in the lineup between Opening Day and now.
AJ Burnett allowed six runs the other day, Andy Pettitte allowed seven runs, Phil Hughes allowed four, and Javier Vazquez who is finally pitching well, now has a bruised finger.
Everything seems to be going wrong for the Yankees all at the same time. Many of the hitters are slumping, and even the last starts for the starters are poor. Even Mariano Rivera has struggled a bit.
Fortunately for the Yankees, Granderson should be back in a couple of weeks to replace missing depth in the lineup. But a “couple of weeks” could mean up to 14 games.
The Yankees starters certainly need to get back on track, and the Yankees hitters need to get going. We wouldn’t expect it from Winn. But in times like this, you hope your captain could be doing better than .250. And I don’t know where Teixeira went… but someone better go and find him.
The Yankees travel to Minnesota next. It won’t be easy. The worst part of it all is that it seems the Rays will just never go away. And the Blue Jays are only two games behind the Yankees at the moment.
It’s a bumpy ride for the Yankees, and the seat belts seem to be broken.