With only two New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera and Robinson Cano, headed across town to the All-Star game, the rest of the team can get some rest. After dropping a series in Yankee Stadium against the Minnesota Twins, it certainly looks like they could use a break. The problem is that this isn't a case of tired players needing a break or rookies hitting a mid-season ceiling.
This Yankees team isn't slumping, isn't just going through a stretch of games against difficult opponents or running into some bad luck. No, this Yankees team, especially the offense, simply is what it is: A fourth place team, albeit in the best division in baseball, with the second lowest batting average, a woeful .243, and third lowest On Base Percentage (OBP), .307, in the American League.
While the All-Star break will be a nice four day respite for the Yankees, on Friday, when the Yankees open up against the division rival Red Sox, it will be with the exact same team that was blown out 10-4 by the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. Derek Jeter may avoid the disabled list but will be watched closely. However, Mark Teixeira is out for the year, Curtis Granderson isn't even taking batting practice yet, Francisco Cervelli had a recent setback in his recovery and Alex Rodriguez is proceeding through rehab with the Biogenesis cloud, and potential corresponding suspension, hovering over his head.
There is nothing predictable or dependable in any of those names. Nothing certain on which the Yankees can hang their hats. They go into the unofficial second half of the season much the way they entered the season on April 1: hopeful that reinforcements are on the way, worried that the when they arrive they won't help and staring at the possibility of a year of no playoff baseball in the Bronx.
The Yankees aren't out of it yet, not with 39 games left against division rivals in the season. But, over the All-Star Break, they need to figure out how to hit. Otherwise their elimination is simply a foregone conclusion.
For more on the first half, listen to the latest podcast, below.