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Yankees GBU – Time to get a little concerned

Now Yankee fans there, there is no reason to panic right now.  The Yankees may be 2-4 but it’s still the first week of the season and half of their roster is hurt.  Speaking of hurt, Troy Tulowitzki lasted six games (really only four) before he hurt his calf.  He may be the latest name added to the IL this week.

Anyway, the two losses to the Detroit Tigers aren’t a time for panic just yet, but is a cause for concern.  It’s not that the Yankees are losing, it’s how they’re losing, and it’s the exact same way they lost in the playoffs.  Let’s take a look at this week’s GBU for the Yankees’ series against the Tigers.

 

The Good

The back end of the rotation (and Masahiro Tanaka)

While the offense has been stone cold, to start the season, the “shaky” pitching has actually been a strong point.  Domingo German pitched five innings of one run (unearned) ball, even though he walked five batters.  He struck out seven and looked strong for most of the game.  Jonathan Loaisiga pitched well in his “start” on Wednesday, going four strong and only giving up one hit and one run.

Obviously Masahiro Tanaka was the star of the Yankees once again, despite not getting a win on Tuesday night.  Tanaka pitched 6 2/3 strong while only giving up one run and striking out seven.  We’ve mentioned before that a good Yankee team needs Tanaka to be efficient, and boy has he.  In fact, the only pitcher whose pitched poorly so far is JA Happ.

They have plenty of depth

If there is another positive to take from a disappointing season, it’s that the Yankees are so deep that all of the injuries they currently have aren’t catastrophic.  The fact that D.J. Lemahieu, a former Batting Champion, can replace Miguel Andujar at third base means that Brian Cashman did something right.

Of course it’s going to be tough to replace Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Andujar in the lineup.  But would you rather have a highly touted prospect in Clint Frazier and D.J. Lemahieu in the lineup or relative unknowns like Mike Tauchman?

 

The Bad

Mike Tauchman stinks

I’m all out on Mike Tauchman.  He’s had seven at bats and only has one hit.  That may not mean much considering the small sample size, but he looked completely outmatched against a bad pitcher in Matt Boyd.  He struck out three times on Wednesday afternoon and hasn’t provided any kind of pop.

Maybe he’ll have a clutch hit at some point during the season but he doesn’t look like he belongs in the Major Leagues after a performance like that.  They can’t send him down because of all the injuries, but Mike Tauchman should not be the fourth outfielder on this team once everyone is healthy.  Aaron Hicks can’t come back soon enough.

Tulo catches the injury bug

That didn’t take long.  Troy Tulowitzki has never been known to be an Iron Man of any sort, and he lasted a grand six games before getting injured.  Health has always been the biggest concern throughout Tulo’s career, and with all the injuries to the Yankees this one stretches them very thin in the infield.

The Yankees kind of expected it at some point but they probably didn’t think they’d have to bring up unknown AAA players to the big ballclub after just a week of games.  With Miggy on the IL and Tulo most likely to join him, it looks like D.J. Lemahieu will be the every day third baseman, Gleyber Torres at shortstop, and Tyler Wade at second base.

 

The Ugly

Gary Sanchez can’t throw the ball to second

Gary Sanchez has had an up and down start to the season.  He has a few home runs so far, has some nice pop on his bat, and has actually been more than capable behind the plate.  He looks like he’s putting in more effort than previous years and actually is getting in front of the ball instead of trying to backhand everything.

One thing he is not doing is throwing out runners.  So far Sanchez has four throwing errors in six games.  His errors have directly resulted in opposing teams scoring at least one run.  While a few may not be his fault (and should be charged to Gleyber Torres) he hasn’t made a good throw yet and each time a runner advances he puts his pitchers in a worse position.

They set a record for striking out in a game

The Yankees faced Matt Boyd on Wednesday afternoon, not Randy Johnson.  They made Boyd look like a Hall of Fame pitcher as they struck out 18 times against him and the Tigers’ bullpen.  They looked silly in most at bats and couldn’t start a rally (surprise surprise).

Why are the Yankees so bad at timely hitting?  It’s because they’re constantly trying to hit the long ball.  Aaron Boone seriously needs to do something and have his hitting coaches work with each guy individually.  Even guys like Luke Voit look to be out of sorts.  If this approach doesn’t change, the Yankees are in deep trouble.  They can’t home run themselves out of a slump.

 

Look, it’s still very early in the season but there are some disturbing trends that are starting to form with the Yankees.  Whether it be complete lack of focus on defense, terrible at bats, or an inability to score runs, the Yankees need to learn how to play a fundamentally sound game.  They can’t throw balls into the outfield or strike out 18 times against the Astros.  They can’t look like a AAA team if they expect to win the World Series.

We’ll probably all be laughing about their first two series in August after they just won their ninth game in ten tries, but for now it’s time to put a caution flag up.  The Yankees will be just fine but just fine isn’t good enough to win the World Series.  They need to be great.  The pressure is on now.  Can they respond?

 

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