Last night I witnessed, in person, one of the most embarrassing losses the Yankees have suffered in the last decade. The Miami Marlins, a team so depleted that their AA affiliate draws bigger crowds, came into the Bronx and put a beating on the Bombers, 9-1. It's unacceptable. I don't care what kind of expectations are surrounding this team, that performance is unacceptable in more ways than one.
I became irrational. For the first time in 2018 I became an irrational, world is coming to an end, this team is doomed, Yankee fan. I lost sleep. I tossed and turned trying to figure out what was going wrong. A team that has stimulated more excitement than many in recent history was playing .500 ball through the first 16 games of the season. It's still early, but soon it won't be, and the Yankees need to figure out why they aren't playing like a sound ball club. Because before we know it, the hole they've dug themselves into can become insurmountable, and 2018 will be nothing more than an unforgettable nightmare.
I finally fell asleep, and I woke up this morning with the will to turn my irrationality into logic. Something I wish more Yankee fans would do, instead of booing a struggling player looking to find his way in a new city. I've heard every excuse in the book as to why fans are booing a man who is here to help their team win, and every excuse comes down to one word: ENTITLEMENT. Yankee fans in 2018 are once again entitled. Expectations are high, it's time to bring a championship back to the Bronx, and we are ENTITLED to show our displeasure. Right?
Boo all you want. Be frustrated all you want. But unless you look deeper into the numbers you'll never find the answers you're looking for. Because, at the end of the day, Giancarlo Stanton struggling is the LEAST of the Yankees problems. And here's why...
WHERE DO THE YANKEES STAND OFFENSIVELY IN THE AL?
This was a complete shock to me, I must admit, but the Yankees rank top 5 in almost every major offensive category so far this season. Ready?
Batting Average: 4th in AL
Runs Per Game: 3rd in AL
Doubles: 2nd in AL
Triples: 5th in AL
Home Runs: 3rd in AL
Runs Batted In: 3rd in AL
Walks: 1st in AL
On Base Percentage: 3rd in AL
Slugging Percentage: 4th in AL
OPS: 4th in AL
How can a team rank in the top 5 of their league for all of those categories and be 8-8, in 3rd place of their division, and 6 games out of 1st? Simple....
Remember when Christian and I ranted on the NYY Sports Talk Podcast about the Yankees losing Gerrit Cole to the reigning World Series Champions? Everyone argued with us. "He's a bum, we shouldn't give up anyone to get him." It's all we heard. And I guess Brian Cashman listened. Just for your knowledge, in case you haven't been following, Gerrit Cole is currently 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in 3 starts for the Astros. Most importantly, he is averaging 7 IP per game and has a league leading 15.4 SO9. A man who could have given the Yankees some depth, with swing and miss stuff, is now improving an already dominant team. All while the Yankees pitching struggles beyond relief.
Although they are among the league average for many pitching statistics, two things jumped out at me.
The Yankees have allowed the 2nd most runs per game in the AL.
The Yankees have the 3rd worst ERA in the AL.
So you ask, how does a team who ranks 3rd in runs scored per game have an 8-8 record? By giving up the 2nd most runs per game. This pitching staff needs to straighten itself out. From the starting pitching to the bullpen, it hasn't been pretty. Many want to put blame on Aaron Boone, but I feel if anyone is in the hot seat, it's Larry Rothschild.
Outside of the pitching, the defense needs to work out the kinks as well. Although players are injured and guys may be misplaced, leading the league in errors is also unacceptable. It has prolonged innings for a pitching staff that needs to be preserved as much as possible.
At the end of the day, there's still no need to be irrational. There's no need to boo just because we can or feel we have the right to. It's April 18th, and the Yankees simply haven't lived up to the expectations we all imagined them to this off season. Giancarlo Stanton is an easy target, he's been pretty bad. But we have to remember, a player like Stanton can absolutely be the solution, but right now he's not the problem. I'm not saying he hasn't had the opportunity to win this team more games, I'm saying that those games would have been won if the pitching had done its' job. Remember that time he struck out with the game on the line vs. Baltimore? Well the pitching staff had a 5-0 lead after 1 inning and blew it, getting us to that spot. Remember last night when he left 4 men on base? Well the pitching staff allowed 9 runs, so even if he hadn't left any men on, they still would have lost.
I don't know when it becomes acceptable to start worrying, I'm still trying to answer that question myself. But I know it isn't yet. Stay the course, support this team, and ride out this wave of uncertainty. I'm still confident this team will have us all laughing about the worry we felt "back in April" when the dust settles in 2018.
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