Yankees Dreadful Start Shouldn’t Be a Big Surprise

The Yankees’ 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay at the Stadium promptly placed them in last place in the American League East, five games behind the division-leading Red Sox with a 5-10 record.

Is it a total shock? It shouldn’t be. to me, the Red Sox are a big surprise as well.

The real shock is that is has already risen to the state of fans throwing baseballs on the field in a game against Tampa Bay.

It’s April, and there is major unrest.

The offense wasn’t supposed to be an an issue.

DJ LeMahieu finally was resigned, and Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge were healthy. Clint Frazier would rise to his long-awaited status, and Gary Sanchez looked reborn in spring training. Despite playing shortstop, Glayber Torres was ready for a bounce-back season.

Stanton is hitting 161. with a team-high 18 strikeouts despite a team-high 12 RBIs; Frazier is hitting .67 with 14 strikeouts; Sanchez, who hit consecutive homers in his their first two games, has stopped with a .237 average; and Torres is at .196 with 15 strikeouts. Add Aaron Hicks to the mix with a .160 average with 14 strikeouts.

In the field, Torres has been as vulnerable fielding at short as was the late, legendary Gene Michael (Great person).

Jay Bruce, who was the biggest hitting surprise of camp, retired Sunday with a .118 average and 13 strikeouts.

Judge has four homers with a .255 clip, but he still has 15 strikeouts.

LeMahieu is at a respectable .286 with a team-high 16 hits, but he is still off his usual mark.

The pitching, however, was the question mark.  It was Gerrit Cole and Question Mark and the Mysterians, borrowing from the fabled 1960’s rock group. As for Cole, he should be 4-0 instead of 2-1 with his 1.82 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 24 innings.

Domingo German, Corey Kluber, Jordan Montgomery, and Jamison Tallion, were the new band behind Cole that led to the exit of Masahiro Tananka, J.A. Happ, and James Paxton.

It has been far from expected from the new unit.

German quickly was exiled to Scranton after two starts, Kluber and Tallion have had few moments looking more like batting practice pitchers, and Montgomery has been average at best. Granted, Kluber and Tallion are coming off surgeries, yet they looked strong in the spring.

The bullpen has been relatively solid without Zack Britton.

Manager Aaron Boone addressed his team after an 8-2 loss to Tampa Friday.

So, what can be done? Good question without a real answer.

There can’t be a total overhaul, but the lack of starting pitching had surfaced probably earlier than expected.

It may soon be time to deal an offensive chip for a frontline pitcher, or run the risk that German and Deivi Garcia can save the day on their way down from Scranton.

Over time, the offense should be able to work through their kinks.

Yet,April baseball shouldn’t be taken for granted. In the end, a poor April is a deep sting to a potential contender.

The Yanks need a run, and they need it fast. This was supposed to be World Series-bound year and the time to end the drought of the past 12 seasons.

Or their grim reality could settle even further.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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