The first half of the 2021 MLB season was filled with pleasant surprises and utter disappointments, and today, we are going to talk about two underachieving teams that desperately need to start the second half of the season with a winning streak.
Both of these clubs have the talent to crack the postseason, but neither one is currently in position to do so.
Will that change in the second half?
2. Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are looking at another disappointing season if they aren’t able to quickly change their trajectory in the second half.
The Phillies have the luxury of playing in an extremely weak National League East division, but they are going to need to get hot if they want to take advantage of it.
The New York Mets (47-40) currently have a 3.5-game lead atop the division with Philadelphia in second place.
The Phillies (44-44) are probably the only club with a legitimate chance at challenging the Mets for the division crown at this point, as the Atlanta Braves (44-45) just lost young star Ronald Acuna Jr. for the season to an ACL injury, and the Washington Nationals (42-47) are likely going to sell at the upcoming deadline.
Phillies fans are tired of watching the team waste Bryce Harper’s prime years, and if this season is going to be different, a winning streak to open the second half of the season would go a very long way.
Severely hope the Phillies turned a corner and make a hell of a run in the second half this year. I just want playoff baseball in my life.
— EMVPiid (@PhillyfanJSI) July 11, 2021
1. New York Yankees
If there has ever been a time for the New York Yankees to push the reset button on the 2021 season, it’s now.
The Yankees are coming off of a miserable first half.
Entering the season, the team was widely regarded as the overwhelming favorite to win the American League East, but very little has gone to plan for New York.
The Yankees currently find themselves sitting at 46-43, a record which is good for an eight-game deficit in the division.
In the Wild Card race, New York is 4.5 games out of a playoff spot.
That’s not an insurmountable hill to climb, but it’s a bit of a hike.
Poor campaigns from Gleyber Torres (.634 OPS), Brett Gardner (.614 OPS), Clint Frazier (.633 OPS), and Miguel Andujar (.667 OPS) certainly haven’t helped the cause offensively, and on the mound, the team has been crippled by pitcher injuries.
It doesn’t help that Aroldis Chapman has been a nightmare out of the bullpen lately.
The Yankees may need to explore other options at the closer position, because Chapman has not been the same player since the MLB foreign substance ban started.
AROLDIS CHAPMAN, THE STATISTICAL WORST RELIEVER IN BASEBALL SINCE THE LEAGUE’S CRACKDOWN ON ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES, HAS BLOWN YET ANOTHERRRR GAME! INCREDIBLE! pic.twitter.com/hzcQaImzqs
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) July 4, 2021
All in all, the team desperately needs to start the second half with a hot streak.
If New York comes out of the All-Star break playing poorly, we could very well see the club punt on the season by the trade deadline.
Both Phillies and Yankees fans are growing restless with the shortcomings of their respective teams, and the way that the rest of July pans out will likely be very telling for both clubs.
Merely because of the amount of talent the Yankees have, they probably have a slightly better shot than the Phillies do at sneaking into the MLB postseason.
It will be very interesting to see how things unfold.