The New York Yankees have lost seven of their last nine games, and as incredible as it may sound, it’s not the first similar stretch of bad play they have had this season.
Manager Aaron Boone has understandably received some of the blame, as has general manager Brian Cashman for the roster construction.
The Bombers are 33-32, currently in fourth place of the American League East division behind the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox, and the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees are an incredible nine games behind the Rays for the division lead.
But is Boone really to blame for all the team deficiencies?
Unnecessary rest days
Lying to the media and fans
Afraid to drop players in the order when they’re in slumps
Bad lineup construction
Chronic injuries and underperformance
Lying to Clint about being the LF
The Aaron Boone Era.
— Tom Smith (@Tom_Smith717) April 17, 2021
He certainly is guilty of some things, but he should not be fired, at least not right now.
The Team’s Issues Go Beyond The Manager
The Yankees’ primary issue in 2021 has been the offense.
The unit was supposed to be fearsome entering the season, but it has just 252 runs scored in 2021, compared to 333 by the Rays, 329 by the Red Sox, 322 by the Blue Jays, and 261 by the Baltimore Orioles.
Even Baltimore has scored more runs than the ‘Bombers’.
Injuries have also affected Boone’s options, and created a big problem at first base when Luke Voit had to miss the first month-and-a-half of the season.
But Boone has also made some poor choices.
One of them has been sticking with LeMahieu as the leadoff hitter, as the veteran infielder slumps to a .261/.335/.343 line when he was at .364/.421/.590 last season.
Aaron Boone says there’s been no thought to move DJ LeMahieu down in the lineup.
“It’s going to take the entire lineup doing their job to make sure we’re meeting expectations. A big part of that is DJ at the top.”
— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) June 8, 2021
Higashioka had a hot stretch in April, but now that they have both accumulated some at-bats, we see their true offensive talent: the former is a below-average hitter and the latter is above-average, as evidenced by his 106 wRC+, or weighted Runs Created Plus.
Lineup construction has been a problem for Boone, generally speaking.
He batted Rougned Odor third a few nights ago, for example.
Other sectors of fans and media have noticed he is too passive and laid-back to be the manager of the Yankees, but that shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as a drawback.
The Yankees Shouldn’t Make A Change Yet
The point is that he is being questioned more than ever before, but the Yankees shouldn’t make a change.
Last year, they had a similarly bad stretch but recovered in time to make the postseason, rather comfortably.
Once there, they won a series and lost to a better team in a hotly contested series against the Rays.
They were competitive when it mattered.
The Yankees still have time to turn around their season.
But they need to start winning games, they need the back of the rotation (namely Jameson Taillon) to be more effective, and more than anything, they need their offense to start resembling the 2017-2020 units.
Boone should be the leader of the turnaround, as a mid-season change can do more harm than good at this point.
He is not the best manager in MLB, but he is a good skipper and should be given the chance to revert things.