Sadly the baseball season has entered the middle of August. This means the regular season is coming to an end and the first-place Yankees have been struggling. The Yankees had a terrific first half, leading to an impressive record of 64-28. Since the All-star break, the record only improved to 73-46. It is concerning if the team continues to play bad baseball going into the playoffs.
It is not one issue why the team is struggling so much. Each game they lose is something different For example one game they can not score, while in another game they can not pitch. It is worse when it is a team-wide issue because it is easier to fix one problem. Currently, it feels like the team is finding ways to lose than win.
One big noticeable difference from the first half to the second half is winning one-run games. The Yankees were 14-4 through June 18th. Since June 19th, the team in one-run games has been 7-12. Losing one-run games could be back-breaking to a team. They are back-breaking because those are games that could have been won stolen from the opponents. One-run games could be determined by which team is successful at the smaller things. One example of this is creating productive outs. The Yankees in this poor stretch struggle with moving runners from second to third with zero outs. It becomes frustrating for fans to see the offense strand runners on base because they were unable to do the smaller things.
Recently there was a terrible example of being unsuccessful with missing up on the smaller things like base running. In a pitching duel in Seattle, the game stayed tied at 0 going into extra innings. First, in the tenth inning, Andrew Benintendi was the ghost runner on second and got caught stealing third base. There was no reason for him to even attempt the risk of stealing third. He probably would have scored on a hit anyway, and a baserunner should never make the first out at third base.
In the next inning, Miguel Andujar took off for third on a lineout off from Aaron Hicks. Andujar should have known to make sure that the ball lands in the outfield before he takes off. Unbelievably the Yankees were able to embarrass themselves again on the base paths. Isaiah Kiner Falefa hits a sharp ground ball back to the pitcher and Jose Trevino found himself in a pickle off second base and was tagged out. Kiner Falefa at the same time tried to get himself into second base, and he was naturally tagged out. This was embarrassing baseball from the Yankees! If this bad base running continues, so will the losing.
On the pitching side of things for the Yankees, is having more shut-down innings after they score. There was no better example of this was in the final game in St. Louis. In the first inning, the Yankees scored first but then immediately Frankie Montas gave up a run and the Cardinals tied the game. In the second inning, the Yankees scored 3 runs as they regained the lead. Later in the bottom half of that inning, the Cardinals exploded for five runs. They took a 6-4 lead. It became even more frustrating in the game as the Yankees came back to the tie, but again it was short-lived. The rest of the game continued without getting a shutdown inning. There have been other similar examples throughout this poor stretch.
There are not many bright spots when the team is struggling, but at least they currently have a nice lead in first place in the American League East division. The Yankees currently have a 9-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays. There is still enough time for the Yankees to get hot again, and finish the season strong. Hopefully, the winning can come back soon to give fans hope for a late October run.