With the 2018 AL East race in the balance, the Yankees need a wake-up call and they need it quickly. The Red Sox have run away with the first two games of this four game series and if New York doesn't find some fire somewhere, they will be playing for second place over the last 50 games.
Yes the Red Sox are loaded. It's ok for Yankee fans to admit that their rival is pretty dam good. That said, there is no excuse for allowing Eduardo Nunez to beat out routine ground balls. There is no excuse to allow Jackie Bradley Jr to beat a throw home when he was caught in between bases. Under no circumstances should Steve Pearce, a thirty-five year old journeyman, look like the second coming of Jim Rice.
After getting out to a 4-0 lead in the opening game the Yankees have been outscored 19-4. They have looked sloppy in the field and do not seem to be playing with the same fire that their division leading opponents are. The starting pitching has been sub par and have not kept the games close enough for the Yankees strength, the bullpen, to be a factor. In game three this afternoon, Chance Adams will be making his major league debut against the best offense in baseball. Needless to say the odds are not in the Yankees favor to at least get a split.
So what needs to happen the rest of this weekend for the Yankees to reclaim some dignity? Obviously they need better starting pitching. CC Sabathia was not good on Thursday and Luis Severino, the supposed ace, simply cannot give up a three spot in the bottom of the first inning. What is needed over the next two games are quality starts, get the ball to the bullpen and grind out two wins.
In addition to the obvious, there needs to be some fire, some urgency, some desperation on the part of the Yankee players. If I hear one more time that "there are two months left in the season and anything can happen," I think my head is going to explode. Even if the Yankees win one of the next two they will still be 7.5 games back. Sorry eternal optimists, but at that point it's too late. The response by Severino by brushing back Betts was a step in the right direction. It showed the fire that is needed to turn this around and turn it around quick.
Losing games that are well played are one thing, getting embarrassed in the biggest series of the year is quite another. Yankee pitchers should be pitching inside. The players should be angry at what has been happening and playing as if the season depends on these next two games...because it does. I am in no way advocating injuring people but sometimes a good brawl helps to bring a team together. Boston fans will tell you that the Varitek, Rodriguez fight in 04 is what helped proplel them through the rest of that season. It didn't matter that Varitek was wearing a suit of armor at the time, he will always be revered for his role in that brawl. What the former Sox catcher brought that day is exactly what the Yankees need going forward go salvage some dignity and to stay in this race.
Photo by, Anthony J. Causi