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The Yankees need to stop beating themselves

Other teams aren’t winning, the Yankees are losing.

New York Yankees v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

This hasn’t exactly been the start Yankees fans hoped for, has it? As of this morning, the Bombers sit in second place in the AL East, but with a 5-7 record. It’s still early in the season, but they need to start turning things around soon. Luckily, they’re not that far off.

One of the most frustrating aspects of this young season has been how frequently the Yankees give games away. They’re their own worst enemy, and it’s showing. Opponents don’t keep beating them, the Yankees just keep losing games. That might be a bit unfair to their opponents, but it’s true. As injury-riddled as the team is, the season could be going differently if they didn’t fold in on themselves.

With Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Dellin Betances, Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius, Miguel Andujar, and Giancarlo Stanton all on the injured list at the same time, it would have been reasonable to assume the Yankees would falter. And they have been, just not in the way fans would expect or accept. If the Yankees cleaned up their act in a few fundamental areas, they’d be able to hold the ship steady until reinforcements arrive.

The area in most need of improvement is the team’s bullpen. You can blame Aaron Boone all you want for pressing the wrong buttons and sending the wrong relievers out at the wrong times, but the bullpen just has not performed for him. On paper, the relief corps is so talented Boone should be able to draw a name from a hat and it should work. Yet, outside of Adam Ottavino and Luis Cessa, there isn’t a reliever who hasn’t disappointed.

If the relievers can start pitching like they’re supposed to and support the shockingly great starting pitching the Yankees have received, that alone would give them back a few wins. Still, they can’t just expect everyone to turn it around and be good again overnight. There are other areas they can improve on as well.

Defensively, the Yankees have been a mess. Dropping pop-ups (thankfully the infield fly rule exists), bad reads, bad routes, bad dives, bad throws, the Yankees love to help their opponents and make life difficult for their pitchers. On the flip side, they’ve also made their fair share of blunders running the bases as well. Reggie Willits, Phil Nevin, Carols Mendoza, and Jason Brown should be working overtime with the players. Even though the players are ultimately responsible, the coaches need to be emphasizing fundamentals.

That’s not to say they’re not; we don’t know what discussions or work happens behind the scenes. Whatever they may be doing, though, hasn’t been enough. They need to do more.

It’s a 162-game season. The Yankees have only played 12 of those games. More than 90% of the calendar remains ahead of them. They have plenty of time to fix themselves, but they need to put in the effort. Especially right now, they’re only looking up at the Rays, as the Red Sox have stumbled out even worse than the Yankees.

Right now, the Yankees aren’t leaving any wiggle room for down the road when the Red Sox eventually turn things around and the race gets tighter. They have to play catch-up, but they’ll get desperate soon if they don’t clean up their act. Luckily, the toughest opponent they’ve faced this year is themselves, but it’s also the easiest one to overcome.