Honesty is always the best policy in all walks of life.
That's exactly why this fallacy that the 2014 New York Yankees are a team capable of making the playoffs and having a chance to make some noise in October needs to stop. It would be easy to agree with Denny Green's famous sentiment, "We are we thought they were," but that would be incorrect.
The team formerly known as the Bronx Bombers are now a team led by an overachieving starting rotation that that has been decimated by injuries and one of, if not the best bullpen in baseball. The infield defense has been a disaster for much of the season and the offense has been putrid to put it lightly.
At this point, you might be thinking, how could this happen with a $194 million payroll and you would be correct. Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman pulled the trigger on high-priced free agents' Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann to bring much-needed pop to a Yankee lineup that struggled mightily to score a year ago.
All the money handed out by the Steinbrenner family has done nothing to fix the offense, and for the second year in a row, the Bronx Bombers have turned into a team that experiences no easy wins. With Monday's loss to division-leading Baltimore, 11-3, the Yankees have now been outscored by 33 runs (471-504) and stand seven games out of first place.
It would be easy to blame the debilitating injuries to the starting rotation, but that's just not acceptable at this point. Sure, losing four of your five starters for most of the season would cripple any team, but Cashman has continued to bring in journeymen and no-names to keep the Yankees in games.
From the resurgence of Brandon McCarthy to Chris Capuano to the wonderment of Shane Greene -- pitching has not been the problem. In the late innings, Dellin Betances and David Robertson have been arguable the best end of game duo in baseball. They have turned the game into just six or seven innings, but the offense's ineptitude continues to hold this team back. Despite all the injuries to the pitching staff, the Yankees are seventh in the American League with a 3.82 ERA, but are 11th in runs scored with 468 -- just four ahead of the hapless Astros.
With the exception of Brett Gardner -- who is having a breakout season -- no other Yankee has consistently produced at the plate. Gardner has hit for .279/.355/.455 to go along with 15 homers, 50 RBIs, 18 stolen bases, 18 doubles and six triples. Gardner -- the Yankee leadoff hitter -- has the highest slugging average on the team.
Beltran has been on a tear over his last 28 days with five home runs, 17 RBIs and a .326/.379/.555, but was shell of himself in May and June after the infamous collision with the wall at The Trop in Tampa. Ellsbury has been up and down; Mark Teixeira continues to battle that wrist injury and likely won't ever be the same. The Yankee first basemen has hit just .230 this year with a .332 on-base percentage. In his final season, Derek Jeter has kept his average between .270-.280, but he has zero power.
Chase Headley has been a bright spot since arriving from San Diego, but he's not the type of player that can carry a team. The excuses for this offense are the same ones that we've been hearing since May. In fact, I would venture to guess that the act of actually pulling teeth is easier than this team scoring runs.
Monday night's loss to Baltimore was a perfect example. The Yankees took a 3-1 lead after the Orioles terribly butchered a run down and Beltran and Headley scored, but Baltimore would score 10 straight runs to win the game. New York couldn't record a hit after Jeter's fifth inning double and it's not like this is the first time something like that has happened this season.
It's time for everyone to realize that this year's Yankees just aren't good enough to get to October. At least last year there was a large excuse with the litany of injuries. This year? Cashman and manager Joe Girardi should have a clean conscience, this one's on the guys swinging the bats.
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