The baseball world is waiting for the New York Yankees to turn it on and start living up to expectations, but they’re still stuck in neutral — or better yet, the mud.
The Yankees were swept by the Boston Red Sox over the weekend, ending a miserable 2-5 homestand that also featured a four-game split with the Tampa Bay Rays.
“An awful week for us culminating at the end of this homestand,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone admitted.
After the offense combined for just five runs in the first two games of their series against Boston, the Yankees blew a 3-1 lead in the seventh inning before ultimately falling in extra innings.
Now at just two games over .500 and having lost 10 of its last 13, New York sits 6.5 games back of the AL East-leading Rays as they head to Minnesota to face a Twins team that is 11 games under .500 in a soft AL Central.
“We have to get right, we have to get better,” Boone said. “It starts now on the road as we head to Minnesota… we have to find a way to start scratching out some W’s.”
A lot of that pressure falls on the offense, which has continued to struggle to live up to its Bronx Bomber expectations heading into 2021. Headlining the issues as of late is last year’s AL batting champion, DJ LeMahieu, who is batting 111 points lower than his average last season while batting .167 in his last seven games.
“I think there have been times, especially over the last 10 days, two weeks, where he’s hit into some tough luck,” Boone said. “I feel like he’s really close with that flat swing, getting some good swings off… He’s grinding… I don’t think he’s that far off. Just some balls he’s stinging are typically at people.”
His trust in LeMahieu has trickled down to the rest of the roster as — from his standpoint — it’s only a matter of time before the Yankees break out of a funk that sees them ranked as Major League Baseball’s fourth-worst offense with an average of 3.72 runs scored per game.
“I see the work they’re putting in, I see the adjustments certain guys are making,” Boone said. “I feel like I’m seeing the quality of content and the at-bat quality picking up, especially the last week with some guys gaining traction. Now we have to get everyone involved.
“For our lineup to be heavy, it has to be one that wears you down and everyone has to do their part.”
That has to start happening sooner or later, though, or else the Yankees will spend a majority of their summer trying to climb out of a hole that they’re currently digging.