Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If you happen to be walking the streets of
New York the next few days, you may want to glance up and watch out for the
Yankees fans who are out on the ledges.
The Yankees, of course, built a 10-game lead in the American League East
following play on July 18. But since that time the team is just 19-25 and
that once seemingly insurmountable advantage in the division is now gone, as
the Yanks find themselves tied for the top spot with the Baltimore Orioles.
And while fans in New York might be pushing the panic button, the Yankees'
captain certainly isn't.
"Nothing changes; we play everybody," Derek Jeter said. "How many games do we
have left? If we win all of them, we're good, right? If that's the case, you
don't have to worry about anyone else."
New York, though, has looked bad, basically the whole second half. The Yankees
have lost three in a row, five of their past six and 11 of their past 16. And
while the Bronx Bombers have struggled, Baltimore and Tampa Bay have gone 29-15
and 28-16, respectively, over their past 44 games.
"Nobody wanted to be in this situation, but this is part of the game," Yankees
second baseman Robinson Cano. "We've got to go out there, forget about what
happened in the past and start from zero tomorrow."
Truth be told the Yankees probably weren't as good as the team they looked
like when they went up 10 games. But they also aren't as bad as they look
right now, either, especially at the plate.
Tuesday's loss was their fifth straight game that they were held to six hits
or less, a stretch the team hasn't seen since 1990 when it went six games.
"We're not scoring a lot of runs, and we're giving up a few too many; that's
the bottom line," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We're getting four or
five hits a night, maybe six, and that's it. We do get some runs, but we don't
The Yankees have struggled to hit with runners in scoring position all season,
but lately they've been playing with a lineup that has had castoffs from the
Houston Astros, 40-year-old outfielders and minor leaguers.
Now, nobody is going to feel sorry for the Yankees and their injury concerns,
but facts are facts. The Yankees are better with Mark Teixeira in the lineup,
rather than Steve Pearce.
"We've got to hit," Girardi said. "That's the bottom line. It's hard to win if
you don't hit. We've had a tough time scoring runs the last couple weeks,
probably starting around the White Sox series. That's been part of our
problem. We're just not getting it done right now. As a club, we're just not
hitting the ball very well."
The lineup isn't the only problem. The starting pitching, from ace CC Sabathia
on down, hasn't done its job lately, as the Yanks have held the lead in seven
of their last 10 losses.
Again, though, this is a rotation that throws the likes of David Phelps and
Freddy Garcia out there every fifth day. And Phil Hughes has been bad more
than he's been good in the second half. The Yankees have used 22 pitchers this
Andy Pettitte and Ivan Nova are getting closer to returning, but are still a
few weeks away.
It's kind of funny that here we are in 2012 and Yankees fans are still waiting
for Pettitte to ride in on a white horse and save the day. And for good
measure, Jeter is still the most consistent player in the lineup.
Is that more of an indictment on the current club, or general manager Brian
Cashman? That'll probably be a better debate over the winter. But, now,
regardless of what you may read or see on television, the Yankees are still
very much alive and well.
Considering all the injuries they've had, it's kind of amazing that they are
even in this position. They just need to get healthy.
It's a slump. It's a prolonged slump sure, but one that can be erased this
coming weekend when the Yankees travel to Baltimore for an important four-game
series at Camden Yards, a ballpark that has been very kind to them over the
Not to mention the Yankees close the year with 10 straight games against teams
So, while the Yanks cap their regular season against a Boston Red Sox team
that has already started to fold its tent, the Orioles and Rays will be
battling each other.
Speaking of the O's, they still have six games remaining with the Rays in
addition to a nine-game road trip that brings them out to the West Coast.
So, yes, things aren't great at the moment for Girardi's crew, but this time
next week the situation may look a whole lot different. And then again, maybe
The bottom line is there is still a lot of baseball left for the Yankees to get
back on track.
The Sports Network