Joey's Sports Corner: Time for wake-up call in the Bronx

Kathy Willens/AP Photo

Members of the New York Yankees lean on the dugout railing during the seventh inning of a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in a baseball game, Sunday, at Yankee Stadium in New York. From left to right, are: designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton, outfielder Brett Gardner, who did not play Sunday, retiring outfielder Jay Bruce, DJ LeMahieu, injured first baseman Luke Voit, a coach and Aaron Judge. 

Sure, it’s early, but the New York Yankees look like a shell of what fans and baseball experts expected them to be.

Many picked New York and the Los Angeles Dodgers to be in the World Series.

We’re 15 games into the season, and the Yankees sit in dead last in the American League East at 5-10. The only team off to a worse start is the Colorado Rockies who are 4-12.

Skipper Aaron Boone and a lot of the Yankees keep saying things will turn around, but when will that actually be?

New York has lost five games in a row, which most recently includes a sweep by the Tampa Bay Rays in the Bronx.

The bats are quiet, and the pitching leaves a lot to be desired. There’s no jump and jam in this team.

After a lackluster 8-2 loss to the Rays on Friday, an alleged fired up Boone addressed his squad. He did not reveal what he said to his players during his postgame presser, but Boone is not the fiery type of manager who gets on his players much.

So you’d think whatever his message was would certainly resonate with his team, right?

The results on the field certainly did not show any impact, as the Yankees lost the next two games, including a 4-2 setback to the Rays, Sunday.

This marks the loss that’s rock bottom for the Bombers.

They had their ace Gerrit Cole on the mound, and this was the time to bring the losing streak to an end.

Tampa Bay had other plans, however.

The Yankees’ bats were once again pretty silent as they mustered just three hits, highlighted by a solo shot from Giancarlo Stanton and a bloop RBI single by D.J. LeMahieu.

Meanwhile, Cole gave the Yankees a chance to win, striking out 10 and surrendering two earned runs on five hits and no walks.

But what’s been a problem all season continued to be a problem in their latest loss.

The Yankees, in addition to struggling in the batter’s box, had defensive blunders.

Aaron Hicks made an error in center field that extended a third inning where the Rays took a 2-1 lead and forced Cole’s pitch count to rise.

Hicks’ mistake was just another example of too many New York has made early in the season. Things are not crisp right now.

Also, if you take away Cole’s 1.82 ERA, the Yankees starting rotation has an ERA over 6.4.

Needless to say, there are a lot of problems in the Bronx right now. When there are so many concerns, you have to look at leadership, which means you have to look at Boone.

Even prior to this slow start, people have wondered how much influence Boone has as the manager or if the way he makes out a lineup and manages is dictated more by the front office and the analytical approach the organization has adopted of late.

In today’s day in age of baseball, many more managers are guys who organizations think can be there for the players and keep things right in the clubhouse.

Due to the analytical approach, a lot of the old-school managing styles are not needed as much, which means managers can focus a lot more on the players as people and be a support system for them.

But after Boone’s little meeting with his team after a loss Friday and their performances the next two days, is it time to start wondering how much impact the Yankees manager has on this club right now?

Some probably have already been thinking that even before this losing stretch, but an underperforming team brings out a lot more thoughts.

There comes a point in time where players just have to start performing better, but for now, it’s clear Boone’s message to his players had little to no impact, which leaves plenty of questions about him and other Yankees.

At what point will Boone be on the hot seat, or is he already?

Is Hicks, who is batting an abysmal .160, wearing out his welcome, and will Stanton (.176), Clint Frazier (.167), or Gleyber Torres (.196) start hitting the way they are capable of?

Will the starting rotation, most importantly Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon, pick up the pace and start performing better?

And finally, what does the front office think of this team right now, and when will the panic button be hit? If George Steinbrenner were still alive, one could only imagine how he’d be handling this given the team’s $200 million payroll.

These are just some of the question marks right now in the Bronx.

As famous Yankees catcher Yogi Berra once said, it's getting late early.

Email Joey LaFranca:

Twitter: @JoeyLaFranca

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