4 Yankees Patches Needed To Save The Season: DJ LeMahieu, Mental Mistakes, More
NEW YORK – The message from Yankees manager Aaron Boone was more than ever about the brand: Things will be fine. In fact, they will improve.
“We are not yet a complete product,” said Boone. “I’m still a big believer in what we’re capable of, what we’ll do, the team we’ll ultimately become, but we have to keep working on it to get there.”
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Boone had just watched the Yankees get crushed 9-2 by the Rays at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.
His team could have drawn within 2 1/2 games of Tampa Bay, first. Instead, he saw ace Gerrit Cole get slapped for five points when offense couldn’t do much and they fell 4 1/2 games behind the Rays. The Yankees fell to a breathtaking 0-15 when their opponents scored five or more points this season.
The Red Sox rival will arrive for a three-game set on Friday. Boston was a surprise, starting the day in second place in the division. If Boone’s club “will ultimately become” what he says, that turnaround must start now.
And here’s what needs to happen:
DJ Le Mahieu must show up
After signing a six-year, $ 90 million contract in the offseason, the Yankees believed they would get DJ LeMahieu who shocked the American League by competing for an MVP for each of the past two seasons. Instead, they have an impostor on the plate. Going 1-for-4 with a single and one strikeout on Thursday dropped LeMahieu’s batting average to 0.255, 0.109 points lower than the 0.364 he posted last year. He’s what started the Yankees roster since 2019. That’s a big reason he’s failing now.
Mental mistakes must stop
It didn’t really matter. When Clint Frazier pretended to catch Brandon Lowe’s single that earned him a point in the fifth inning on Thursday, nothing happened. But the fact that Frazier attempted to fake a catch with two outs – as if holding back runners – was curious at best. It followed a string of dizzying decisions by the Yankees over the past week, from Gary Sanchez’s base to Gleyber Torres’ mistakes on routine play to watching third strikes with relative frequency. The Yankees need to focus.
Gleyber Torres‘power must resurface
So the 38 home runs in 2019 were an aberration, the product of a juicy baseball. No one expects this from Gleyber Torres. But Torres’ .686 OPS doesn’t do the Yankees any good, not as long as it remains one of the worst defensive shortstops in the sport. To Torres’ credit, he’s reached .315 with an .823 OPS in 26 games since April 27. His poor start seriously hampered his overall line. But someone has to step in, and Torres has as much potential as anyone else.
They must be healthy and stay that way
The Yankees need pre-quad strain Giancarlo Stanton (.282, 9 HR, 24 RBI, 33 games) to show up and for post-quad injury Stanton (.063, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 5 games) to leave after- hurry. Gio Urshela has suffered from pain in his left knee since he stopped diving on May 6. Since then he’s only hit 0.227 with two homers and an OPS of 0.626. They need 2020 MLB home run leader Luke Voit to return around July 1 (which Boone said is possible) and crush the rest of the year. They need the rest of Tommy John’s rehab of starting pitcher Luis Severino so he can arrive in the Bronx in early July and save the rotation.
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Brendan Kuty can be reached at [email protected]. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.