Despite being in 1st place for a long stretch and even now being just 1.0 GB the persistent Tampa Bay Rays, there is something very unsettling about this team, and the up and down nature of the season thus far is enough to give anyone a heart attack:
In April, they struggled out of the gate, losing 6 of their first 8 games, then proceeded to reel off 10 wins in their last 13 games to close out the month.
In May they won 7 of their first 10 in May. Then they lost 10 of their next 12, including 5 straight, and 13 of 19 to close out the month.
They started off June with 7 straight wins then lost 4 of 5 to get them to their current position of 34-30, just 4 games above .500, and mired in the mess known as the A.L. East.
The division crunch also adds to the frustration. It just feels like they should be building a huge advantage over their division rivals but, unfortunately, the rest of the A.L. East is just as unstable as the Yankees.
With the wildlife teams (Rays, Blue Jays and Orioles) of the A.L. East surging right now, it seems fortunate that the Yankees will avoid them until next month. Between now and then the Yankees need to take steps to firm up their identity.
That starts with the rotation and deciding who comes out after Ivan Nova’s return. Warren seems to be the automatic choice but, based on the numbers, it seems a little unfair to him. The bullpen, however, would benefit from his return, as the current crop is unreliable and more likely to add fuel to whatever fire the starter left for them.
The defense also needs to be tightened up, whether that’s getting the veterans (Headley and Beltran) to take early fielding practice and/or finding a way to get Gregorius to focus on the field. The new SS has been much better as of late, but Tueday’s game saw him make an error that certainly didn’t help Nathan Eovaldi.
The Yankees could be in much a worse situation but, for the sake of Yankees fans, it would be nice if they could stabilize.