Well, well, it looks like the Baby Bombers are indeed mortal.
The New York Yankees, who seemingly looked unbeatable for the first two months of the season, have fallen on some hard times during a West Coast road trip that saw them lose their sixth-straight game on Sunday against the Oakland Athletics.
For the Athletics, it was the completion of a four-game sweep, which was remarkable considering that they owned the worst record in the American League entering their series against the Yankees.
It was just the third time in manager Joe Girardi’s stint as Yankees manager that he was swept in a four-game series.
In the process, New York’s four-game lead it held on June 12 has vanished as the Boston Red Sox moved into a tie for first after a 6-5 win on Sunday against the Houston Astros.
A team that was finding ways to pull out wins earlier this season now has been unable to win the close one. Five of their six losses have been by two runs or fewer.
Not to mention Aaron Judge has slowed down in the process, hitting just .217 with 11 strikeouts in 23 at-bats.
Is it time for Yankees fans to panic? Absolutely not.
This team was not expected to play like this yet as their “rebuild” has already been more successful than any other franchise across the four major North American sports. When was the last time you saw a rebuilding baseball team win 84 games? That’s what happened last year.
Heading into the season, this was a team that still needed to make some significant roster improvements to actually contend. Instead, they stormed out of the gates and punched everyone in the mouth.
Regardless of their losing streak, they’re still nine games over .500 and we’re three weeks away from the All-Star break. That would be an incredible feat for almost any other fan base outside the Bronx.
And if you’re expecting Aaron Judge to keep a Triple Crown pace up while mashing home runs farther than you can count, your head is in the clouds and I want whatever you’re having.
Judge and the Yankees are a young team that simply are not the best on the road. Their 22-9 record at Yankee Stadium has been dimmed by a 16-20 mark away from home, which is below the league average.
Big No. 99 is batting .282 on the road, which really isn’t that bad. But it pales in comparison to the .400 mark he is sporting at home. He’s also hit just eight of his 23 home runs on the road.
Numbers aside, this was the farthest the Yankees had to travel for a road trip this year. Prior to their seven-game excursion that took them to Anaheim and Oakland, the farthest western point New York traveled to this season was Kansas City for a three-game set against the Royals.
Young players and teams are going to hit rough spots. A baseball season is far too long and taxing to stay red-hot the whole time. It will be imperative that Girardi stresses the point to his youngsters and keeps things loose in the clubhouse.
If the struggles follow the Yankees home for their six-game stand against the Angels and Texas Rangers, then it might be time to show some concern.