New York Yankees Struggles Continue

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 29: Todd Frazier #29 of the New York Yankees bats during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on July 29, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Rays 5-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees have dropped in the standings as their struggles continue. They enter Saturday’s play with a record of 57-51, and three games behind the first place Boston Red Sox. The Yankees are 5-5 in their last ten games, including losing four of their last five. After dropping the first two games of their four-game series to the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees will look to try and salvage the series over the weekend at Progressive Field.

New York Yankees Struggles Continue

The Yankees entered August playing relatively well after rebounding in July. June turned out to be a brutal month for New York when they went ten consecutive series where they either lost or tied. Despite the Yankees being 19-29 in their last 48 games, they were able to right the ship slightly by winning three consecutive series from July 20 to July 29.  During that 10-game span, the Yankees went 8-2.

Unfortunately, the Bronx Bombers, who went all in at the trade deadline in order to strengthen their pitching staff, now find some of their key offensive weapons struggling considerably since the All-Star Game. But it is not only the Baby Bombers who are failing to deliver in the clutch. It is the entire lineup that is currently struggling with RISP. In their last six games, the Yankees offense has scored just 16 runs while hitting a putrid .181 as team, including a .171 mark with RISP.

Yankees Are Struggling With RISP

The Yankees rank 18th out of the 30 MLB clubs for batting average with RISP (.254). However, during their last five games the players in Pinstripes are only hitting .115 (3-for-26) with RISP, including just one hit in their last 18 at-bats with RISP. This particular problem has undoubtedly caused the Bronx Bombers to lose several of their most recent games.

The three players who the Yankees relied on heavily to drive in runs prior to the All-Star break, are the ones who seem to be the most affected.

Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Matt Holliday have all seen their batting average with RISP drop drastically. Holliday was hitting .282 with seven home runs and 39 RBI with RISP prior to the All-Star break. He also went on the disabled list with a viral infection. Since returning from the DL, the former St. Louis Cardinal is only hitting .136 (11-for-81) with one home run and four RBI in 20 games.

If Holliday (currently the Yankees designated hitter) cannot turn things around anytime soon, you have to wonder if another stint on the disabled list is likely. Perhaps the Yankees could move him to the bench when the rosters expand on September 1.

Sanchez, who has been struggling more and more behind the plate (leads the majors with 12 pass balls) as the season goes on, was one of the Yankees most productive hitters with RISP prior to the All-Star break. The second-year catcher was batting .286 (20-for-70) with six home runs and 35 RBI, but now he is only hitting .214 (3-for-14) with RISP since the All-Star game. In 19 games following the All-Star break, the young catcher has looked undisciplined at the plate. He is hitting .243 (18-for-74) with four home runs and 12 RBI. Getting Sanchez back on track and producing at critical times is crucial to the Yankees success going forward.

Then there is the rookie, the mighty Judge. If MLB handed out MVP Awards for the first half of the season, Judge would have won it running away. The Yankees rookie right fielder had a slash-line of .329/.448/.691 with 30 home runs and 66 RBI. Judge was also extremely dangerous with RISP, hitting .289 (28-for-97) with nine home runs and 42 RBI. Since the break, he is only hitting .200 (3-for-15) when there are RISP.

Judge is the runaway favorite to win Rookie of the Year honors as of now. However, in his last 20 games the rookie has a slash line of .174/.333/.348 with four home runs and 12 RBI, while going 12-for-69.

With both Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez hitting in the middle of the Yankees lineup, it’s extremely imperative for each of these two young hitters to be able to drive in runs when opportunity arises. It cannot be stated enough how crucial they are to the Yankees success and possible return to the postseason.

New York Yankees Recent Additions

The Yankees made three major moves before the July 31 Trade Deadline, including one trade that vastly improved their bullpen. The acquisition of David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the Chicago White Sox, along with third baseman Todd Frazier, gives manager Joe Girardi the ability to interchange his relievers in order to keep everybody fresh as they make a run at the postseason.

Both Robertson and Kahnle have combined to pitch in 15.1 innings while giving up just 12 hits, four runs, four earned runs, zero base-on-balls, and 22 strikeouts. Girardi can use Robertson as the setup man if he needs to give Dellin Betances a day off, or as the closer to give Aroldis Chapman a rest. Having Robertson back in Pinstripes provides Girardi a lot of options to mix-and-match with his relievers.

The Yankees also upgraded at third base with the addition of Todd Frazier, at least that was the intention. Since joining the Yankees, Frazier is only hitting .208 (10-for-48) with two home runs and five RBI. Chase Headley, however, has really been on a tear since moving over to first base. The switch-hitter has a slash line of .351/.400/.500 since the All-Star break, while hitting eight doubles, one home run, and six RBI.

The biggest splash by General Manager Brian Cashman was the acquisition of starting pitchers Jaime Garcia from the Minnesota Twins and Sonny Gray from the Oakland Athletics. With the season-ending injury to Michael Pineda and the amount of innings pitched by rookie left-hander Jordan Montgomery (never pitched more than 140 innings in the minors), New York really needed to address their starting rotation. Both pitchers come to New York with playoff games under their belt, especially Garcia who won a World Series title with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.

Garcia made his Yankees debut last night in losing effort, failing to make it out of the fifth inning (4.2 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K). He did, however, break a 122-year-old MLB record by starting his last three games with three different teams (Braves, Twins, and Yankees). It is understandable if the lefty was a little rusty. The last pitcher to pitch for three different teams in three straight games was Gus Weyhing in 1895.

As far as Gray, he was very impressive in his Yankees debut (6.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K), despite getting the loss. Right off the bat in the first inning, the Yankees defense made three errors leading to two unearned runs.

Having Gray and Garcia to go along with Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino and CC Sabathia will give the Yankees a formidable pitching staff that can definitely help carry their offense as New York sets up to make a deep postseason run.

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