Welcome to Panic City
by John Jastremski
Apr 20, 2021 | 4294 views | 0 0 comments | 462 462 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In most cases, 15 games into a 162-game season is a ridiculously small sample size. After all, can you properly judge a team after two full weeks of baseball?

In most years it's not a complicated question, but 2021 has put my logic to the test when it comes to the early season woes of the New York Yankees.

My uneasy and negative feelings go well beyond their 5-10 record. As bad as that record may be, the Yankees have actually played worse than that.

Outside of Gerrit Cole, the Yankees pitching has been subpar. And the offense, which was supposed to be the strength of this team, is among the bottom of the league in basically every single offensive statistic.

In addition, the Yankees defense has been abominable. Can't pitch, can't hit, can't field; not exactly a winning recipe.

The Yankees are 3-9 against the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays, the two teams they need to beat in the AL East.

To make matters worse, the Yankees continue to think they are a vastly superior team to the Rays. How comical is that?

"We'll let our play do the talking," Aaron Judge boasted before the weekend series with the Rays.

He's right, the Yankees play has done the talking against Tampa over the last two years, and it's been pathetic.

In seven series, including one in last year's ALDS, the Yankees are 5-18 against Tampa Bay.

The Yankees slow start is not my concern, my concern is that the organization thinks this team is much better than it actually is.

This is a World Series-or-bust season. Anything less than a World Series appearance should result in wholesale change.

I’m not suggesting writing the Yankees off quite yet, but ask yourself, does this look like a team built to win a World Series in 2021?

The answer is a resounding no going into the third week of the regular season.

However, narratives can change quickly. The 2005 Yankees are a prime example.

They started the season 11-19 and there was a feeling that it could be 1965 all over again, with the crumbling of the Empire in epic fashion.

The Yankees called up Robinson Cano, Chien Ming Wang and moved Bernie Williams out of centerfield.

The bold moves combined with the resurgence of the lineup, Randy Johnson and the duo of Shaun Chacon and Aaron Small led to one of my favorite summers of baseball.

The Yankees ended up winning 95 games and won the American League East on the 161st day of the season in Boston.

I wonder if there is a bold move coming for this 2021 group.

I don't know what it could be quite yet, but the optimist in me hopes that 2021 will be similar to what we saw in 2005.

My advice to the Yankees is simple. Block out the noise, eat a slice of humble pie, and do your job better.

Yankee manager Aaron Boone tried calling his team out Friday night after a dismal effort and it didn't work.

I don't know if it's a manager or player erupting or just an off day to clear the head, but something has to give for the 2021 Yankees.

Time to wake up.

Listen to New York, New York on the Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify and Apple every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

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