Yankees Thoughts: Another New Low Point in Nearly Lost Season

5 1/2 games out of a playoff spot, Yankees' season is on brink of being lost

The Yankees suck. I have used that phrase (with credit to the Red Sox fans chanting it over the years) at times during this soon-to-be lost season in jest, but it’s true. They do suck.

Here are 10 thoughts on the Yankees.

1. I keep thinking we have reached the lowest point in the 2021 Yankees season, and the Yankees keep going even lower. I thought getting swept by the Red Sox to fall to 0-6 on the season against them and six games back in the loss column to them, while only scoring seven runs in 27 innings at the most right-handed-hitter-friendly park in the league despite facing two left-handed starters would be the lowest point. I was wrong. The Yankees followed up their atrocious weekend in Boston by losing to the Angels on the day Aaron Boone declared “the season is on the line,” and two nights later, they lost to the Angels again despite scoring seven runs in the first inning and having a four-run lead in the ninth. We have yet another new low.

After the Red Sox series, the Yankees had 13 games remaining before the All-Star break. I thought they had to win at least eight of those, which would mean going 8-5 at worst. They are 1-2. With Thursday’s rainout, they now have 12 games in total from the end of the Red Sox series until the All-Star break, and they have to win seven of the nine remaining. I feel like I have a better chance at winning the Powerball this weekend, and I don’t even have a ticket for the drawing.

2. The Yankees have lost fix of six, have the second-worst offense in the AL, a negative run differential, a worse record than the historocally-bad Mariners, three more losses than the $54 million Indians and after Friday’s game (if it takes place with the forecast), the season will be half over. Things aren’t just bad, they’re miserable. It’s painful to watch this team play each night knowing they will either not score any runs or allow too many runs, and even if things are going well, their manager will find a way to ruin the game. They invent new ways to lose each game to the point it’s actually unbelievable. Like The OC after Marissa Cooper’s departure or The Office after Michael Scott left, it’s unwatchable, but yet people keep watching.

3. Monday’s game wouldn’t have been a Michael King start without him allowing some first-inning runs (he gave up two) and without him giving the team length (he went 4 1/3 innings and allowed eight baserunners). After the game, he was asked why he struggles in the first inning. “I like to set guys up for their second and third at-bats.” It was arguably the worst answer I have ever heard at a postgame press conference, and I don’t miss Boone postgame press conferences. King is apparently willing to sacrifice runs and putting his team in an early hole to get outs later in the game. What? How is that a real answer he gave? What makes it even more ridiculous is that the Yankees don’t allow King to face a lineup a third time.

I don’t know when the Yankees will stop letting King start games, but it doesn’t appear to be anytime soon. Deivi Garcia isn’t doing well at Triple-A, but he’s only at Triple-A, so the Yankees can roster King and/or Scumbag Domingo German. Garcia not performing well at Triple-A simply doesn’t matter to me. What he did last year for the Yankees is what matters. He should have never been in Triple-A in the first place this season.

4. King isn’t good, and neither is Jameson Taillon. The Yankees scored a season-high 11 runs on Tuesday (10 of them while Taillon was pitching), and he still couldn’t get through six innings. Taillon lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowed five earned runs, put 10 runners on and gave up another three home runs. An embarrassing performance in what has been a season full of them for a pitcher Brian Cashman was called a genius for trading for. Taillon has now given up 14 home runs in 69 2/3, which is a 40-home run pace over 200 innings. In a rotation that features, King and Scumbag German, Taillon has been the worst. Congratulations!

5. King isn’t good, neither is Taillon, and neither is Scumbag German. As expected, German put the Yankees behind 2-0 before they could even bat on Wednesday, and even though he was given SEVEN runs of support in the bottom of the first inning, that didn’t stop him from allowing a third run in the second inning, as he finished the game with three innings pitched, while allowing three earned runs and seven baserunners.

So the Yankees’ rotation is King (sucks), Taillon (sucks), Scumbag German (sucks), Jordan “Crooked Number” Montgomery and then Gerrit Cole, who just had the worst start of his Yankees tenure in the biggest regular-season game of his Yankees tenure, and has looked more like the other four than his former self since the crackdown on foreign substances. Why do I spend three-plus hours of each day watching this team again? That’s not rhetorical. I’m really asking. I need help. All Yankees fans still watching do.

6. It’s not all on the pitching. Yes, the offense has been great the last two games, scoring 19 runs, including their second double-digit output of the season, but where were they when the pitching was actually good in May? That’s when they were putting up two and three runs per game like they did last weekend in Boston.

The entire team is a problem. The starting pitching is awful, the offense is mostly non-existent, the manager looks like someone hired to do a job they were unqualified to do, the coaching is comical, the defense is poor and the baserunning is worse than all of those other things combined. Put it all together and you get a team that’s 41-39, just two games over .500 through 80 games with the season about to be half over.

7. On the day (Monday), Boone said, “The season is on the line,” his team scored three runs and lost. Two nights later after stopping the four-game losing streak, the season must have no longer been “on the line” as he chose to sit Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela. Boone claimed the day off for Judge was one “he really needed.” The night before Judge hit a ball off the batter’s eye bar in center field. He looked real fatigued.

Following Wednesday’s unimaginable loss, Boone was asked what he has to say to Yankees fans. “I feel bad for them,” Boone said. “They deserve better than this.” Then resign. If you truly feel Yankees fans deserve better than the team’s performance, and you are the one leading and guiding the team, then resign and step away from the job. Boone would never do that because he wouldn’t give up the seven-figure salary. No one would. But in reality, Boone doesn’t think this season (or any of the last three) are any bit his fault. He thinks he has made every right decision and pushed every right button, and his players have failed him. Unfortunately, Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner agree.

8. The Yankees went into yet another season with Brett Gardner as their fourth outfielder despite rostering Judge (one full season in his career), Hicks (no full seasons in his career), Stanton (can’t play the outfield and hasn’t played a full season in three years), Clint Frazier (unproven with history of injuries) and Mike Tauchman (can’t hit major league pitching). They had to know Gardner would become an everyday player at some point, and were OK with it, and he has been an everyday player now pretty much all season. Just like he was in 2019 and 2020.

Here were Alex Rodriguez’s 2016 numbers at the time of his forced midseason retirement by the Yankees:

65 games
9 HR
31 RBIs
.598 OPS

Here were Gardner’s numbers in 65 games (through Tuesday):

65 games
3 HR
8 RBIs
.599 OPS

How was A-Rod forced into a midseason retirement (with a year to go on his contract), but Gardner is playing EVERY DAY for the Yankees?

If Gardner sits this weekend, it won’t be because the Yankees have a better option. The Yankees acquired outfielder Tim Locastro on Thursday. In 200 games and 480 career plate appearances, he has hit .234/.339/.324. That right-handed bat wih a .663 OPS will fit in nicely on this Yankees team as they have yet another outfielder who can’t hit because Gardner, Hicks, Miguel Andujar, Frazier and Ryan LaMarre weren’t enough. I fully expect to see Locastro playing this weekend against the Mets and won’t be surprised to see him bat ahead of other established major leaguers. Maybe Boone will even have him bat third since he has let everyone else have a turn in that spot this season.

9. It’s a miracle the Mets were able to get their game in on Thursday, a game started by Jacob deGrom, which takes him out of the equation this weekend. This lineup against deGrom would have been as automatic and as much of a guaranteed loss as there can in this sport. While most Yankees fans have given up on the season, I still think there is time (though not much) to turn it around. I’m like Rudy’s fellow scout team member who tells him, “I’m under the delusion that I might get a chance to run out that tunnel.” The delusional part of me is ecstatic the Yankees are missing deGrom. The part of me telling me to do something else with my weeknights and weekday afternoons for the next three months is sad they are going to get further embarrassed this season by potentially being no-hit by deGrom.

10. The Yankees are in real danger of not having a season. I have long said they are in trouble, going back to early April, but they are well past trouble, and now sitting on the brink of disaster. After this weekend, the Yankees have Monday off and then go the Seattle for three and finish the first “half” of the season in Houston with three games.

After the All-Star break, the Yankees play four against Boston, two against Philadelphia, four against Boston and three against Tampa Bay. The latest we will know if there’s any point in watching the last two months of this season will be on Thursday, July 29. At worst, all Yankees fans will have one month of their summer not wasted by this team.

Subscribe to the Keefe To The City Podcast. New episode after every game during the season.

My book The Next Yankees Era: My Transition from the Core Four to the Baby Bombers is now available as an ebook!