It would be easy to blame Mother Nature for the Yankees 3-1 loss on Sunday afternoon. After all, before the rain, the Yankees had managed to cling, albeit precariously, to a 1-0 lead for 5 innings. After the rain, within 5 minutes in fact, Aroldis Chapman had blown his first save and the Yankees were looking at a 3-1 deficit. Just half an inning later, the Yankees officially lost the game and their second series in a row (the Detroit game not withstanding). They are, yet again, 4 games under .500.
So, yes, it would seem that a little grumbling about rain storms in June is in order but, to be honest, that would be the easy way out. The real problem here, as it has been all season, is with the Yankees offense. The Yankees left 10 runners on base and went just 1-for-11 with RISP. In other words, they had plenty of opportunities to put this game well out of reach. Plenty of chances to back CC Sabathia, who did his fair share of wiggling out of trouble whenever the Orioles got men on base, but who managed to not give up a run across his 5 innings.
They couldn’t do it though. Ten hits and only one when it counted. After a weekend series that saw them put up 13 runs in the first two games, they again struggled to score more than one.
The scorecard will show that this game, like Friday’s game, was blown by the bullpen. Dellin Betances (May I yet again say that something does not seem right with the former Baby Bomber?) struggled in the 8th inning and Aroldis Chapman was called in for what was to be his first multi-inning save.
Instead, after a rain delay of 1 hour and 37 minutes, he blew the save and the Yankees lost. They are heading home bruised and battered and with most stories being written about the team discussing what return the Yankees will get for mid-season trades of their bullpen pieces.
Yes, the bullpen did not distinguish itself over the weekend but, one more key hit on Sunday and this is a different conversation. As the game started on WFAN radio, John Sterling recited the batting averages of the Yankees starting lineup. They were dreadful. Batting averages, obviously, don’t tell the full story but, in this case, those averages serve as a most accurate representation of the futility of this team.
This isn’t one player struggling or someone suffering from an injury (that we know of, anyway). This is a team that just can’t seem to hit. That’s the scary part. If there’s nothing wrong then, is this just the 2016 Yankees team?
I sound like a broken record here but this season is far from over. We’re still over a month from the All-Star Break so the Yankees aren’t to be counted out yet, but if there’s no diagnosis, then what’s the next step? That’s for Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman, Alan Cockrell and Marcus Thames to figure out. Sooner rather than later would be nice.