By: John Jastremski
It’s been well documented in this column and throughout town that the New York Yankees have been baseball’s disappointment in the first half of the 2021 season.
They are too right handed, too reliant on right handed power and lack the sort of athleticism and balance that is needed to field a championship team in 2021.
Despite their obvious flaws , the Yankees have a pulse for two reasons.
A winning west coast road trip and the fact that Major League Baseball has two Wild Cards.
The Yankees find themselves 4.5 games behind the Oakland A’s for the second Wild Card and are eight games back of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.
Personally, I don’t see a viable path for the Yankees overcoming that sort of deficit in the division. However, if you want to hold onto that dream do yourself a favor, pay close attention over the next two and a half weeks.
Right after the All Star Break, the Yankees will play the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays 11 times before the month of August.
If the Yankees have any prayer of making the division race competitive, they have to play their best baseball of the season starting on Thursday.
There is no tomorrow, not just for Yankees manager Aaron Boone, but for this Yankee core as we know it.
Realistically, the Yankees need a big second half if they’re to simply qualify for the postseason.
In the first half of this year, they’ve come nowhere close to resembling a playoff team.
After all, think about three of their losses right before the All-Star Break.
It’s impossible to think of three regular season losses that were as soul crushing as yucking up not one, not two, but three ninth inning leads including leads of 4 and 5 runs against the Angels and Astros respectively.
To add insult to injury, the other loss was against the crosstown Mets.
It will be very difficult to change the fabric of the Yankees lineup midseason, but it’s time to see if the team that was supposed to slug their way to the American League pennant can actually find a way to do exactly that.
By the end of July, you’ll know as a fan if there will be an August or September worth fighting for.
Put up or shut up time indeed…