The Yankees did not "collapse"
At the beginning of the month of September, the Yankees were very much in the race for an American League Wild Card spot, and even had a chance to win the division. Since then, they have dropped off big time. They now basically need to win each of their remaining games to even have a shot at making the playoffs. While it sounds pretty devastating to most fans, considering how close they were, it really shouldn’t be a surprise.
Photo Credit: Paul Bereswill
Throughout the first half of the season, the Yankees were stuck in mediocrity. With respect to a few surges in both directions, they sat around the .500 mark for a good chunk of the year. If Brian Cashman and the Yankees’ front office truly thought this team had a chance to make the playoffs, they would not have made the trades involving Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, and Carlos Beltran. After that busy trade deadline, the Bombers went on a hot streak in August, headlined by the emergence of Gary Sanchez. It was then countered by a cold streak in September, leaving the Yankees right back where they started.
The last man to blame for those September struggles should be manager Joe Girardi. Fans are very quick to get on his case for every little decision such as giving a starter too early of a hook or bringing in the wrong relief pitcher when it doesn’t produce a desired result. People forget about all the good decisions he has made that got the Yankees here, such as what he has done with Luis Severino. Has he made mistakes? Absolutely, but he is only human. A team with a perfect manager who never made a bad decision would win almost every game, regardless of the players. That ideal skipper does not exist. Girardi deserves to have his name up there with the Joe Maddons and Buck Showalters of the baseball world.
Girardi has gotten too much of the burden for Yankees’ losses and not enough credit for the their wins. Maybe some of the blame should fall on Dellin Betances’s shoulders for blowing so many saves; it’s not Girardi’s fault for going to his best relief pitcher. If a logical, objective baseball fan looked at the Yankees’ roster, it would be hard to believe this team even finished above .500. Other than Masahiro Tanaka, the rotation consisted of average at best guys led by Michael Pineda. On offense, Gary Sanchez was the only player to finish with a batting average above .275. Sanchez is also tied for second on the club in home runs. Not taking anything away from how great Sanchez has been, he’s only been at the big league level for a two months.
This great run that the Yankees went on was destined to come to an end eventually. You just have to think of it as a pleasant surprise. Ever since August 1st, the Yankees knew they were essentially giving up on this year to play for the future. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have traded their assets and brought up the kids prior to the expanded rosters. On the bright side, this was a great sign for the future. If the Yankees can put the right pieces together in the offseason, they could be built for a postseason run next year.
Article by Jeremy Siegel
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