If the dog days of summer are over then someone forgot to give the Yankees their memo.
In the last week of August, while fall is somewhere around the corner trying to find its way through all the humidity, the Yankees were dropping two of three at home to the lowly Chicago White Sox.
On a 93-degree night, the Yankees dropped a tough one to Chicago, 4-1 at Yankee Stadium. CC Sabathia shook off a long second inning to keep his team close, but came up on the losing end.
It was actually Ryan LaMarre, batting eighth in the lineup, playing the role of Yankee-killer. The left-fielder went 3 for 4, with a home run, and was responsible for all four runs batted in against the Yankees.
It’s hard to criticize a team that’s in possession of the second-best record in the Majors. One must keep in mind the Yankees don’t have Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Aroldis Chapman, or Gary Sanchez. They’ll be back soon, but they’re not here now.
And despite the injuries to key players, this is still a team that’s won 16 of their last 23 games since August 6. Their 9-3 in their last 12 games.
But this is the White Sox, people. They’re 53-80 on the season.
Yes, Chicago is playing better baseball lately. They’re 11-4 in their last 15 games and 11-3 in their last 14 road games. Okay, maybe they’re not so lowly after all.
Even with all of that, this is still a team the Yankees should be taking two of three from, not the other way around. They’re not supposed to be outplayed in a series by an inferior team, especially this late in the season.
However, if we were to play on the field of perspective, it would include the fact this is a 162-game marathon, not a sprint. There will be highs and lows, even for a team on pace to win 100 games.
There’s plenty motivation available for the Yankees to start mowing down teams they’re supposed to beat. They started the month of August getting swept out of Boston but have managed to remain in striking distance.
Now, as the calendar turns to September, the ideal time for the Yankees to begin turning their intensity up would be now.
There’s an enigmatic quality to the Yankees this season. They went to Baltimore last weekend and swept a terrible team, it was exactly what is expected of a championship-contending team. They’re supposed to beat up on them, build some momentum for the stretch run.
But if not for the late-game heroics of Aaron Hicks and Neil Walker Tuesday night, the Yankees could have been swept in the very next series against another bad team.
Okay, the White Sox are not exactly that bad.
What’s next for the Yankees? Another bad team, of course.
The Detroit Tigers come into the Bronx for a four-game series. This is another opportunity to beat up on an inferior team. It’s another chance to pick up ground on the Red Sox, they’ve actually been having their own problems lately with beating teams they’re supposed to.
Maybe the Tigers, losers of their last five games but with an almost identical win-loss record as the White Sox, will also give the Yankees some additional headaches over the weekend.
If they do, that field of perspective could start showing a few holes in it and there won’t be any dog days of summer to justify it.