When It Rains, It Pours

A semi-coherent rant is incoming - readers ye be warned.

Saying that the last two weeks have not been kind to the Yankees is something of an understatement. On May 24, Gary Sanchez took a foul tip to his right thumb while catching, and was subsequently placed on the disabled list with a non-displaced fracture. On May 26, Chasen Shreve was sent to the DL with a nondescript shoulder malady. On May 29, Dustin Ackley hurt his shoulder diving into first on a pick-off attempt, and was placed on the DL the next day. And then on May 31, it was announced that he would have season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum. On the morning June 4, the struggling Mark Teixeira was placed on the DL with torn articular cartilage in his right knee; later that same morning, there were rumblings that his season might be over. That same day, Austin Romine hurt his thumb while warming up Aroldis Chapman, pressing Brian McCann and his hyper-extended elbow into the lineup.

An optimist may look at all of these, and say that there is a bit of addition by subtraction here. Shreve has been awful since September of last season, and Teixeira was one of the worst hitters in the league over the first two months. Despite the inadequacies of Chris Parmelee, nothing of value was lost (based on what we've seen in 2016). And, as far as we know, Romine and McCann are fine, and Kyle Higashioka (the likeliest candidate to get the call should the Yankees need a catcher in the near future) is batting .290/.340/.458 with 4 HR in 153 PA between Double-A and Triple-A this season.

Of course, injuries are not the only point of concern right now, as the team is 5-8 in the last two weeks after showing some legitimate signs of life in mid-May.

The Yankees offense is batting .225/.276/.356 over the last two weeks, and has scored just 44 runs in 13 games - only the Braves and White Sox have been worse. Starlin Castro has been the greatest full-time offender, batting .152/.204/.304 (32 wRC+), though Aaron Hicks (45 wRC+), Brett Gardner (64 wRC+), Alex Rodriguez (76 wRC+), and Jacoby Ellsbury (84 wRC+) have been fairly bad, as well. The offense has been largely brutal, and yesterday's 1 for 11 effort with RISP was endemic of that.

Conversely, the pitching staff has largely held up its side of the bargain. The pitching staff leads the league in fWAR over the last two weeks, and its 100 ERA- (park and league-adjusted ERA) is 12th in the Majors. While it may not be the dominant group that fWAR would suggest, one would hope that a league-average pitching staff would not helm a team with a .385 winning percentage - but here we are.

Perhaps the greatest cause for concern right now, though, is Dellin Betances. He has surrendered 6 ER in his last 4 appearances (4.2 IP), allowing 7 H and 3 BB along the way. Some of those runs were allowed by Aroldis Chapman last night - but Betances left a bad situation in his wake nevertheless. And he also allowed an inherited runner to score last week, which does not show-up in his ERA. This is the first time that Betances has allowed runs in four straight games. Moreover, it is only the second time that he has allowed runs in three straight games ... the first time coming earlier this season. Betances is on-pace to once again break the 80 IP threshold, and has warmed up several other times, as well. 

I may or may not have buried the lede here, as Betances' struggles have played a huge role in the Yankees bullpen ranking among the worst in the last few weeks. The volatility of most relievers is well-known and, despite his still gaudy strikeout numbers, Betances has looked off as of late. This very well may be a poorly timed slump, made worse by the extenuating circumstances of the team as a whole - but I'm worried.

There are some silver linings here, though. Didi Gregorius is batting .295/.319/.393 (92 wRC+) since the beginning of May, and has hit progressively better with each passing week. Chase Headley may have been the worst hitter in baseball in April, but he has followed a similar path - he's batting .301/.354/.427 (113 wRC+) since May 1. Carlos Beltran is still raking, and Jacoby Ellsbury has been quite good since late-April. Michael Pineda just had his best start of the season, and CC Sabathia continues to look like a legitimate starter, having worked his way through a rough outing that would have ended up as a blowout loss last year.

It's not all bad.

Having said that, with the calendar having turned to June, and the Yankees slipping further down the standings, we are dangerously close to the time when discussions of selling become paramount. And if that does become clear, here's hoping they do not hesitate as they did in 2013.