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Yankees Face Problems Early in Season

Almost one month into the season, the New York Yankees are 8 – 8 in third place in the AL East, six games behind the Red Sox. However, throughout the first 16 games, the Yankees have been struggling.
The Yankees had much to anticipate before the season started. The acquisition of NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton was an exciting move by general manager Brian Cashman, especially since it paired him up with AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge. Having two power hitters in the line-up would scare any opposing pitcher. Throw in Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorious, and this line-up was sure to succeed.
However, Stanton has struggled so far in the season. He is hitting a .197 batting average, and is third in the league in strikeouts. For someone who should be the main power hitter on the roster, those numbers are subpar. Gregorious, who is not known for his hitting, leads the team with five home runs and 16 runs batted in (RBI), outplaying Judge, Sanchez, and Stanton. The team is fifth in the league with runs scored, scoring only 90 so far.
The team’s pitching has been poor as well, with an ERA of 4.68, almost the lowest in the league. Four out of five pitchers have higher ERAs.
The bullpen has also not lived up to expectations. Delin Betances’ decline has been remarkable in the last few years, ranked as almost last on the team with an ERA posting of 7.04.
Injuries have also hurt the team. Greg Bird, who was injured right before the season started, is out for six to eight weeks, recovering from a broken bone spur in his right ankle. The team has been using players like Tyler Austin and Neil Walker to fill his place as he recovers. CC Sabathia was on the disabled list with a sore right hip, and third baseman Brandon Drury has been dealing with severe migraines. Aaron Hicks is also on the disabled list.
However, the injuries so far have not been major; some players have already returned to playing. Bird’s injury is the most concerning, though as currently painful that it may be, if an injury must occur, it is better for it to happen in the beginning of the season.
The team is also searching for a new identity. Aaron Boone is learning how to be a manager, as his position with the Yankees is his first coaching job. He replaces Joe Gerardi, who managed the Yankees for nearly a decade from 2008 until 2017. New players are also finding their way in skill positions, as Tyler Wade replaces Starlin Castro and Brandon Drury replaces Todd Frazier.
Despite all of this, the Yankees still have some luck. The season is early. In a sport with 162 games played, it’s hard to play perfectly for all of them. With new acquisitions, injuries, poor pitching, and new coaches, the team was bound to struggle early. The Yankees must improve in time to catch up with the streaking Red Sox and the Blue Jays.

Image taken from the New Haven Register.

Featured image taken from The New York Times.