Week 22 Record: 3-4
Season Record: 86-51
Week at a Glance: Yankees at Oakland Athletics (3 Games)
Yankees at Seattle Mariners (3 Games)
Recap it!: Have you ever beheld something so mind-bendingly irritating that it defies explanation? Something so profoundly, eye-meltingly frustrating that you end up at a simple loss for words and spend an inordinate amount of time just staring slack-jawed at a blank wall, dumbstruck by the sheer futile folly of it all? Well, my friends, if you wanted a more succinct summation of my feelings on the past few weeks of stunningly mediocre-to-bad Yankees baseball, the preceding two sentences encapsulate that just fine. But for those of you who aren’t into brevity, how best do I, the amateur wordsmith, fashion my feelings in a way that isn’t just a profane hose of verbal diarrhea? Well, here it is: After a solid two weeks of being slapped around by teams that should have posed no threat, and of truly comedic ineptitude in offense, defense and pitching, any hope that this team might have had of winning the AL East is truly gone, vanished like tissues at a snot party. The Yankees just spent the last week of this homestand losing two of three to the White Sox and splitting a four-game set with the equally fetid Detroit Tigers, of all teams. I’ve not the inclination nor the time to go over all the team’s shortcomings over the past two weeks (I DON’T HAVE ALL WEEK!), so I’ll just cherry-pick the ones that infuriated me the most. To boot:
* First baseman Greg Bird has become an honest-to-God liability in this lineup, hitting a frankly comical .137 with 2 home runs and 8 RBI in his last 15 games. This arctic streak has caused Bird to spend the last few games riding pine, ceding his role to the hotter hand, Luke Voit. All of this is endemic to a larger problem that the Yankees have had over the past few weeks. Subpar hitting. With the absence of right fielder Aaron Judge and human emoji/shortstop Didi Gregorius, the lineup just hasn’t been able to produce offense on days in which the starting lineup runs into trouble.
* Speaking of, Mr. Spoonerism himself, Lance Lynn, has also been ineffective as of late, pitching to a 5.09 ERA and a 1-2 record over his last 7 games. Coupled with J.A. Happ’s first loss since his trade to the Yankees (in which the TIGERS tattooed him for 5 runs, no less) and you’ve got a situation where the Yanks’ oft-ballyhooed trade deadline acquisitions aren’t looking so hot, at least for now.
Look Out For: What will the Yankees do on their 6-game West Coast swing?
Hey, That’s New!: The waiver deadline has now come and gone, and with it brings reinforcements. Freshly shorn outfielder Andrew McCutchen is now a Yankee, as is shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Odds are the two are here to hold down the fort until Judge and Gregorius return, but it’s still nice to have some more weapons on the team. Welcome aboard.
Rant of the Week: So, is anyone else freaking out about this team, or is it just me? Now, I’ve spent inordinate amounts of energy and words explaining away/apologizing for my knee-jerk reactionary nature as a Yankee fan. Yes, yes, I know we’re spoiled jerkstores. I know long suffering fanbases would commit heinous acts to be in my place, but I just can’t seem to shake the tendency to act like Chicken Little in dire situations, no matter how much I want to, no matter how long I’ve resisted the siren call to be Mad Onlinetm about this on Twitter. BUT THIS TEAM STILL DRIVES ME UP THE WALL!!! EVERY WASTED AT-BAT, EVERY BACKBREAKING HOME RUN SERVED UP! IT’S ALL DESIGNED TO MAKE ME LOSE IT! Am I irrational/more-than-slightly crazy for feeling this way? Yes, indeed. Should I be strapped to a board and injected with enough tranquilizers to bring down a Kodiak? Kinda. Do I deserve it? Again, not arguing that point. This is the way of sports fandom in the 21st century, where those who bleed team colors live and die with every game, every out, day after day, season after season. The freak-out is the lingua franca of the sports fan, which doesn’t under any circumstances excuse the toxicity towards others that such behavior often traffics in, but it can at least provide a window into the thought processes of those who call themselves devoted Sports Ball watchers. And what is Bombers’ Run if not insight into one nutjob in particular? *points at self*