We are here at the end of May. It’s Memorial Day weekend and a baseball season that has seen the unusual with six no-hitters, below average hitting, strikeouts, and the Mets holding the widest lead among division leaders with 17 players on the injured list.
This is a time on the schedule when 30 teams usually get an indication what the remaining four months will resemble, though we have recently been fooled with bad starts from teams and all you have to do is look at the Washington Nationals second half push in 2019 that led to a World Series championship.
No kidding here. The Yankees and Mets are struggling with injuries, pitching issues, and having a difficult time scoring runs.
The Yankees hit a home run or two and percentages say they are in the win column. The Mets can only depend on a Jacob deGrom start every fifth day and have used that bullpen game more often after Marcus Stroman. It’s an improved bullpen that has kept them afloat in a NL east division that has mediocrity written all over it.
Friday night, the Yankees were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and lost the first of three to the lowly Detroit Tigers on the walk-off home run. Their last five in the lineup with averages of .186, .145, .241, 175, .202 of Gary Sanchez, Mike Ford, Miguel Andujar, Clint Frazier, and Brett Gardner are not looking like the Bronx Bombers.
Offense is down for every team in baseball, and you can attribute that to any number of factors, but the Yankees are getting good starts from the rotation and relative consistency at the plate from Gleyber Torrres, Aaron Judge, and as of late, from Andujar. The Yankees get the ground ball out and turn a lot of double plays, but they also hit into many.
The Mets are finding ways to win with the adversity and unprecedented array of injuries to position players, and the rotation, but offseason acquisitions have provided help. By the end of May, the two New York baseball teams, that were projected to win and play in October, have much to do.
The July non-waiver trade deadline is still weeks away and adding any reinforcements to make this better for the Mets and Yankees becomes more difficult. Teams in late May are still finding themselves and won’t make the call to make another team better at this point of the schedule.
So the injured Mets and Yankees will go with that. And we have to get used to the makeshift lineups and more so, with the Mets using the bullpen game more often until the injured pitchers return.
“I think we’re all still waiting for that breakout series offensively, a breakout week, but I know we’re grinding and competing,” said the Yankees DJ LeMahieu, who has not been the most valuable player with a .264 average, three home runs, and 14 RBI. When LeMahieu gets on base, the Yankees are expected to score their share of runs. Perhaps as the schedule turns to June, the LeMahieu at bats will be better.
“Anytime you don’t see him hitting .320 or .340, by his standards it’s a slow start ,” said manager Aaron Boone. “I think just like a lot of guys he’s a tick off what he normally is. He’s done a really good job of getting on base at a nice clip.”
Boone expects LeMahieu to get it going. He expects the Yankees lineup to produce at a better clip, and that can be said as the month of May concludes. Get to June and this continues, then as they say in Houston, “we have a problem.”
In baseball, teams can never have enough pitching which leads to another factor for the Yankees. They know there will be a need to find a viable replacement in the rotation with the absence of Corey Kluber ans wait for the return of Luis Severino and they hopefully continue to get consistency from Domingo German.
Right now, though, Gerrit Cole is the Jacob deGrom of the Yankees. But, general manager Brian Cashman always seems to find a way to fill those voids when injuries occur and the progression of 21-year old Deivi Garcia continues with his up-and-down call from Triple-A Scranton.
Here we go again with Clint Frazier. Time may be running out for the 26-year old outfielder, though relatively young he has never reached his full potential. Amidst rumors of offseason trade talks the past two years, Frazier is still wearing pinstripes and the Yankees are waiting for that breakout season.
If Giancarlo Stanton stays healthy, and can provide that production that came prior to missing two weeks with a strain to the left quad, that would be huge. If the hitting improves, the Yankees will look at June as their start to a nice October.
Smile Yankees fans. It’s not all bad.
And Mets fans, soon the hex of injuries and adversity should come to an end, but how soon until Francisco Lindor finds a way to become the $340 million player and catalyst to the lineup?
It’s the end of May. It’s Memorial Day weekend. The Mets remain in first place and there is a lot of parity in baseball.