The Yankees look as though they’ll be playing postseason baseball as they’re up three games in the AL wild card standings. Just getting into the playoffs is the main objective in today’s MLB world, of course, so whether the Yanks get there via a division crown or by becoming one of the two wild card teams does not matter.
We’ve seen time and time again that anything can happen in October, but the Yankees, at this juncture, are anything but a favorite to win the American League.
The Yanks caught a literal bad break with Mark Teixeira, as the slugger was enjoying an all-time bounceback season before going down with a season-ending shin fracture. Greg Bird has filled in admirably at first base, but is nowhere near the threat that Teixeira is at the plate. Bird has five homers since Aug. 13 but is hitting just .232.
“I mean, honestly, I’m not trying to fill anyone’s shoes,” Bird told the NY Post earlier this month. “I’m just trying to help the team win, and do my job.”
Typically, World Series-bound teams are clicking on all cylinders come mid-September. But the Yankees have made their fair share of blunders lately.
Yanks manager Joe Girardi plugged in a pinch runner for Alex Rodriguez in the eighth inning of a 9-5 extra-innings loss to the Blue Jays Sunday. Rodriguez, the Yankees’ best hitter this season, was unavailable when his turn in the order came around again in the 10th inning.
The Yankees have also gotten nothing out of leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury of late. Ellsbury has just five total hits in the entire month of September and has not homered at Yankee Stadium since Aug. 6 against Boston.
The success of the Yankees’ pitching staff is obviously the key for them as the regular season winds down. But this is a team that needs to win a few games by outslugging its opponent. A quick fix with the way the Yanks’ offense operates is needed immediately.