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MLB Plays the Show: Yankees fall out of first

New York treads water and Boston doesn’t, leaving the Bombers in a wild card slot

In all sports, nothing happens in a vacuum. You’re trying to win as many games as you possibly can, meanwhile, so is every other team in the game. Going .500 in any given week isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you can bet that your division opponents are likely doing better than that, and you start to lose ground. To that end, the Yankees went 3-3 against Baltimore and the Chicago Cubs in our The Show simulation, while the Boston Red Sox...did not.

The Baltimore series is both particularly frustrating and a “That’s baseball, Suzyn” moment. The Yankees managed just seven runs scored in the three games at home, dropping the first two games 4-2 and 1-0. The shutout loss stings largely because Jordan Montgomery has been in the midst of a real season turnaround.

After a historically terrible outing in April, Monty has gradually improved in our sim, finally getting his ERA below 3.80 after 6.1 IP allowing just a single run. The Orioles are as bad in The Show as they can be expected to be in real life, and so to lose 1-0 to any team more than 20 games below .500 is the kind of thing that would have the comment section of our recaps on fire.

The Yankees, fortunately, salvage a game in the series, taking the finale 5-3. Gerrit Cole continues his strong season with 7:1 K:BB in 6.2 innings of 2 run ball, and some late home run heroics helped preserve the start. The Yankees were down 2-0 for most of the game before Gio Urshela and Giancarlo Stanton both went deep to give the Bombers the lead for good.

Next up, an interleague showdown with the Chicago Cubs, struggling in their own right to stay afloat in an intense NL Central. After taking the first game 3-2, the Yankees won possibly the most exciting matchup of the season, a 6-5 walkoff in the 10th inning, as Gary Sanchez played hero with the game winning home run. There were no runners on second to start the extra frame, and there was enough offense balanced with good enough pitching — tossing a 21:4 combined K:BB ratio — to make this the kind of game that would have been a blast to see play out in real time.

In the reverse of the Baltimore series, the Cubs manage to get one win out of the weekend, taking the series finale 8-5 after Masahiro Tanaka melted down. The Yankee righty threw just 3 innings, giving up 11 hits and seven runs in a start we’d all like to forget about. The Bombers actually kept it close early, putting up all five runs in the first two innings, but got shut out after that point and missed the chance for a sweep.

While all this was happening, the Red Sox went 5-1, leapfrogging both the Yankees and Blue Jays to take sole possession of first in the division. Boston has scored almost 50 runs more than New York, highlighting that the biggest issue for the Yankees in our sim has been an underwhelming offense. To boot, DJ LeMahieu and Miguel Andujar, two key cogs in the Yankee lineup, combined for just four hits, all singles, in the six games this week, as they both battle terribly cold Junes.

The Yankees still have plenty of time to cover a one-game deficit, but they need their bats to wake up. With everyone in our sim healthy, a lack of reliable offense is preventing them from really getting going in 2020.