Yankees’ Downturn Causes Elimination from Wild Card Contention

Posted on: July 20, 2023, 09:36h. 

Last updated on: July 20, 2023, 09:36h.

The Los Angeles Angels swept the visiting New York Yankees, and the slumping Yankees are now 3.5 games out of the AL Wild Card race.

Aarom Boone Yankees manager
Frustrated New York Yankees manager argues with a home plate umpire, Vic Carapazza, during a game against the Los Angeles Angels. (Image: AP)

The Yankees are 1-5 since the second half of the season began last Friday. They dropped two games against the Colorado Rockies in Denver over the weekend. The last-place Rockies won the series even though the majority of the crowd at Coors Field rooted for the Yankees.

The Yankees (50-47) tumbled into last place in the AL East after their disappointing western swing, which includes two extra-inning losses.

We stink right now,” said manager Aaron Boone. “We acknowledge that. We’ve got to be better.”

If George Steinbrenner were still alive and running the Yankees, the combative team owner would’ve fired Boone a couple of seasons ago. And knowing how Steinbrenner operated, the Boss would’ve rehired him at least once… and fired him again.

Meanwhile, the Angels are the subject of relentless trade rumors with the trade deadline two weeks away. The Yankees are one of the teams that are pursuing two-way star Shohei Ohtani, who is a huge favorite to win the AL MVP and current home run leader. The dormant offense could use Ohtani’s big  bat and arm, but even the mighty Ohtani might not be enough to boost the Yankees and salvage their season.

Yankees Fire Hitting Coach, But Slide Continues

At the end of May, the Yankees were 11 games over .500, and holding down third place in the AL East. Things went awry in June when they lost last yea’s MVP Aaron Judge to a toe injury. The Yankees posted a losing month with an 11-12 record in June.

The sour mood continued in July. They started the month with a 4-6 clip, and headed into the All-Star break losing four out of five games. Over their last 10 games, the Yankees are 2-8.

To shake things up, the Yankees fired hitting coach Dillon Lawson prior to the All-Star break. General manager Brian Cashman hired former pro and MLB Network analyst Sean Casey.

I don’t make these decisions lightly,” said Cashman. “I decided as we move forward, we have a sprint here in the second half, I felt like this was necessary. Our offense has struggled mightily, more so than I can recall. The team that we have, in fairness to Dillon, we have had some injuries without a doubt but collectively we really have struggled, and we’re best served kind of changing of things up a little bit as we move into the second half.”

Even with Casey at the helm, the Yankees won only one game since the All-Star break.

The Yankees are hitting .231 this season as the second-worst hitting team in the majors. Only the Oakland A’s have a lower team batting average at .230. The A’s are the worst team in baseball with a 27-71 record.

Futures Nosedive, Buy the Dip?

If you think the Yankees will turn around their season, then you’re getting a chance to back them at their lowest point of the season.

At the start of Spring Training, the Yankees were +750 odds to win the 2023 World Series and one of the second cofavorites with the Los Angeles Dodgers. After the Fourth of July holiday, the Yankees were +1200 odds and fifth on the board.

After getting swept by the Angels and dropping two out of three games against the Rockies, the Yankees are now +2500 odds to win the World Series. The Yankees slipped to #12 on DraftKings’ MLB futures board.

The Yankees saw their AL Pennant futures continue to fall at +1300 odds, which is a huge drop off compared to their preseason odds of +310. The last-place Yankees are now a long shot at +2500 odds to win the AL East.

DraftKings offers a popular prop bet on whether the Yankees will make or miss the playoffs. The Yankees are almost four games out of the AL Wild Card and now an underdog to qualify for the postseason at +150 odds. You can back them at -180 odds to miss the playoffs.

According to the most recent postseason projection by FanGraphs, the Yankees have a 30.4% chance to make the playoffs with a 28.6% to clinch the Wild Card and a 1.8% chance to win the division. The Yankees have just a 1.9% chance to win the World Series.

On Deck: Slumpbuster, Subway Series

The downtrodden Yankees return home to the Bronx this weekend and face the Kansas City Royals, who are the second-worst team in the AL with a 28-69 record. The Royals are a potential “slump buster” and the Yankees are desperate to get back on track.

The New York Mets and Yankees square off next week for a short two-game Subway Series. The Mets have also been a disappointment this season, but they won three games in a row. The Mets are ascending, while the Yankees continue their downward trajectory.

The Yankees have a brutal schedule at the end of July and at the beginning of August. They will embark on their toughest stretch in the second half with 10 games against potential playoff teams. It’s a pivotal moment where the Yankees can make or break their season.

The Yankees hit the road for a three-game series against the surging Baltimore Orioles (58-37). Then they host a seven-game homestand with three games against the Tampa Bay Rays (60-39) and a four-game series against the defending champion Houston Astros (53-43).

The injury bad beats continue. Third baseman Josh Donaldson tweaked his calf, and he returned to the IL for a second time this season.

Last season’s home run king Aaron Judge is out indefinitely, and the Yankees do not know when he will return to the lineup. The reigning AL MVP tore a ligament in his big toe after he collided with the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium in early June. Th Yankees have been rudderless without their captain and biggest home run threat.

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