It used to be the Yankees’ AL East division to lose, but now the Yankees are struggling.
Questions need to be answered, and tonight against Tampa Bay, the Yankees will start to give those answers.
What answers would Yankee fans like to see? Here are five questions that come to mind:
Is This Just a Normal Team Slump or Not?
If it was June or even the beginning of August, a slump would not be such a concern for any team in a division race. But it is mid-September with 20 games remaining, and the Yankees have no cushion if they want to win the AL East.
Can the Bats Start Doing Their Jobs?
Striking out is not Yankee-like, as the team’s M.O. at the plate is to drive up pitching counts and draw walks. Derek Jeter is not helping the team right now, except for Sunday against Cliff Lee when he displayed signature Jeter-like form. This has to stick for both the Captain and the team.
Ask the Yankees certain questions, like about innings limits or injuries, and the answer usually leaves you pondering the truth. For example, Brett Gardner is getting an MRI on his wrist, but it is nothing to be concerned about, which was the answer to why Gardner left mid-game on Sunday.
A-Rod just returned from the 15-day DL, and obviously he is not feeling his best still. Why did A-Rod get taken off in the first place? Would A-Rod rather take extra rest than return too soon?
Add Swisher’s recurring injury and those are three of the Yankees who have been critical to the team’s success this season.
What Is the Biggest Problem?
Looking at 2009 stats, the Bombers were caught stealing 28 times in 111 tries. In 2010 with a total of 90 steals, the Bombers have been tagged out 27 times. This number might not make your mouth drop, but it’s the extra pressures like the above fact that is hurting the Yankees.
Home runs are down this season to 174 from the team’s total of 224 in 2009. Overall hits finished at 1,604 last season, while in 2010 they currently stand at 1,311.
Yes, there are 20 games remaining but the team is not hitting 50 home runs and getting over 300 hits. If the team was winning with these numbers, it wouldn’t matter—but they aren’t—so the slight declines become a bigger issue overall.
When is Andy Pettitte’s Exact Date of Return?
There is no denying that Pettitte’s absence has hurt big time. There were too many rumors last month, generating excitement that the Yankees southpaw was on his way back. It feels like forever, but that’s because it has been.
Pettitte can really help the starting rotation, taking some pressure off CC Sabathia. A.J. Burnett and Javy Vazquez would get some breathing room, which could help them both mentally because Pettitte could alleviate the desperation, even if just slightly.
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