The New York Yankees are 8-16. It is their worst start since 1991, they are in last place in the AL East, they’ve scored the fewest runs in the majors and they are tied with the Astros for the worst run differential (minus-34) in the American League.
In short, they’ve been awful.
Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for this squad?
“I think so,” former Yankee Bernie Williams said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I think it’s been one of those perfect-storm situations in which the team hasn’t been able to score a lot of runs and then the starting pitching hasn’t been able to lean on the lineup. I think the team was kind of built around this great bullpen that they have with (Andrew) Miller and (Dellin) Betances and (Aroldis) Chapman. Chapman (is) out now, but when he comes (back), it’s going to be arguably one of the best bullpens in the game. But the thing that is important to point out is you got to get to that bullpen with a lead for them to be effective. That’s what’s not happening right now. You’ve got to find a way to score some runs and to hold some of those offensive teams in check for them to have an opportunity to have their strengths be effective.”
The Yankees are limited in what they can do offensively. After all, they can’t give 40-year-old Alex Rodriguez or 36-year-old Mark Teixeira the green light on the base paths. In many ways, if the Yankees don’t hit home runs, they aren’t scoring.
“It’s a very interesting situation in which you have players that may not be as mobile as they once were,” Williams said. “You still do have (Jacoby) Ellsbury and (Brett) Gardner that can definitely motor around the bases. Maybe just play a little bit of National League ball, which, you just kind of bunt people over, do a little hit-and-run here and there and try to take advantage of it. You have to put yourself in a situation that you don’t beat yourself, you don’t give them extra outs to work with, and your defense has to be impeccable to sort of mitigate for that lack of ability that you may have offensively. So there’s a lot of things that you can do, and when you’re losing games the way they are right now and everything gets magnified, you start nitpicking of all the little things that they may not be doing. But at the same time, you still have a lot of baseball left to play. The season is only a month into it. Hopefully the season will turn around for them.”
The Yankees, who have lost six straight, hope to turn things around Wednesday and Thursday in Baltimore before returning home for a weekend series against the Red Sox. They were swept at Fenway last weekend.
Williams, 47, has fond memories of the rivalry.
“It was just amazing to be a part of,” he said. “It’s sort of like a story within the story. To be able to play professional sports, to be able to play baseball with the Yankees, was great. But just being a part of that rivalry was like the icing on the cake in many ways.”