The Yankees were riding a six-game win streak last week when the Tampa Bay Rays came to the Bronx. Despite injuries to key parts of the lineup, runs were being scored and the pitching staff was effective on the mound.
But then the Rays swept the Yanks in three games, and after a hiatus due to two people in the Mets organization contracting coronavirus, they lost a doubleheader to the Atlanta Braves when they resumed play on Wednesday.
So the six-game win streak has now spiraled into a five-game losing streak. And they lost their top spot in the division. Should the panic meter start to rise?
By panic meter, we mean the one connected to the AL East title and a postseason berth. It's hard to see these Yankees not making the postseason at all. The top two teams in each division automatically make it. But with the injury problem continuing to be a factor as well as some players not producing like normal, that division title could come into question with the Rays playing good baseball.
With 33 games left to play, let's take a look at why Yankee fans shouldn't panic just yet:
Players are coming back
I know Aaron Judge feeling tightness in that calf and potentially hitting the IL again after playing in just his first game back is alarming. He underwent an MRI on Thursday, so the Yankees are waiting on those results.
But Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu are both on track to join the Yankees again soon. Gleyber Torres also said in his latest presser that his hamstring and quad felt normal after he hit the IL last week. So whenever his time is up, Torres should join the rest of the crew, too.
The pitching staff also has James Paxton, Zack Britton and Luis Avilan on it. So the plethora of injuries should diminish (keyword here is should), and the Yanks can get back to having their team close to full strength. That's when they had things rolling to start the season.
Cole and Tanaka blips
Gerrit Cole threw his first dud in pinstripes during the first game of the doubleheader on Wednesday, allowing five runs with three homers tallied, too. And Masahiro Tanaka had his first bad outing of the season against the Rays when he allowed five earned himself over four innings.
But Tanaka already bounced back with no runs allowed on three hits against the Braves in Game 2 of the doubleheader. That's the consistent Tanaka Yankee fans have come to love. Cole also had a 2.75 ERA before his last start, so he should be getting back on track as well.
It doesn't help that Paxton is hurt and J.A. Happ has been rough in his first few outings. But these two at the top of the rotation are going to give quality innings more times than not.
The Yankees haven't played the Blue Jays yet, and they're currently sitting two games behind them for the second spot in the AL East. They've also had a cup of coffee with the Orioles early in the season.
The Yankees should be able to handle these teams, and when the postseason comes closer by the game, the urgency to pull away from division opponents should run through the clubhouse. Improved health and a better lineup should be available for manager Aaron Boone.
Don't Doubt Cashman
The MLB trade deadline is in four days, and the Yankees know they need pitching help because of the aforementioned issues. GM Brian Cashman is already on the hunt, so help could be coming soon.
Cashman loves to work in the shadows, so the Yankees could very well have a new member that helps out once the deadline has passed.