Yankees: Good news and bad news following 3-0 loss to Cubs

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Yankees
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

When it rains, it pours for the Yankees right now. With the Bronx buzzing and a big crowd in attendance to watch Carlos Rodon make his Yankee debut, the offense didn’t just falter; they embarrassed themselves. Jameson Taillon entered tonight’s game with a 6.93 ERA and a 12.8% Barrel% against, and the Yankees mustered just one hit across eight scoreless frames as him.

Losing 3-0 to a Cubs team that was six games under .500, the Yankees aren’t facing one of the best pitching staffs. in the National League, and yet they had one of their most pathetic offensive performances. Carlos Rodón at least gave the Yankees an encouraging outing, but for the offense, it’s one of the most embarrassing displays we’ve seen all season.

The Bad News: Yankees Still Can’t Hit

The Yankees have a team 95 wRC+ and a .299 OBP as a team, they’re one of the worst offensive teams in the sport, and that’s despite having a $290 million payroll. With just two hits and two walks all game, the Yankees were incapable of doing anything against Jameson Taillin. Giancarlo Stanton since July 21st of 2022 has a wRC+ hovering around 70, Anthony Rizzo hasn’t hit a HR since May, Josh Donaldson isn’t good at baseball, and everyone else has been either decent or downright terrible.

They don’t get on base, they don’t hit for average, and they’re bad at running on the basepaths. Tonight it was just as bad with just two hits, but they also struggled to put themselves in position to score, as they didn’t get a single runner to second base all game. Zero opportunities with runners in scoring position and considering that again, Jameson Taillon had the 6th-worst ERA in the sport minimum 50 IP, and the Yankees still couldn’t hit him.

Since the start of June, they have an 84 wRC+ with a team-worst .284 OBP, and it doesn’t look like it’s getting much better. They’ve had some offensive explosions, and they’ve shown flashes of being back, but they haven’t kept it together. Between the Yankees’ top five hitters in their lineup tonight, they went a combined 1-16, and the highest OPS is Rizzo’s at .759. It’s just not good enough, they’re not out of a playoff spot.

anthony rizzo, yankees
May 12, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo (48) looks up at his two-run home run during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees scored the third-fewest runs in baseball in that time span as well, and it’s something that could cost them a spot in the postseason. In 4th place and a game back of the Blue Jays for a playoff spot, they’re in a tough spot where they need offense now, but they’re still too far away to make a big-time trade at the deadline.

Is Oswald Peraza or Everson Pereira going to fix this? Most likely not, but there’s no way that the Yankees will find themselves in the playoffs if they don’t get themselves some help with their bats.

Good News: Carlos Rodon Pitches Well, Yankees Identify Deadline Target

The Yankees saw the debut of Carlos Rodón, who was their big free-agent acquisition, and while he showed some signs of rust with two walks and just three strikeouts, he sat 95 MPH on his four-seam fastball with the great vertical life he’s been known to have and holding the Cubs to just two runs across 5.1 IP. He showed some strong sliders as well, getting two whiffs on the four swings he induced, and having it sit around the velocity and movement profile it was at last season.

Rodón is someone the Yankees desperately need with their rotation struggling to be one of the best in the American League. Luis Severino has struggled mightily and doesn’t look like himself anymore. Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt are fine in the backend of the rotation but have become the Yankees’ two and three starters, and with Cortes on the 60-Day IL, they’ll need all the pitching they can get. One of the two runs he gave up was to Cody Bellinger, who’s emerging as the Yankees’ top deadline target.

chicago cubs, yankees, cody bellinger
Apr 21, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Cody Bellinger (24) looks at the Los Angeles Dodgers dugout after hitting a home run during the third inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Bellinger launched a deep flyball for his ninth HR of the season, adding on a single and stolen base as well. With a 129 wRC+ and a SLG% above .500, Bellinger is having his best season since he won the NL MVP in 2019, and his numbers are rounding into form. Bellinger has a 2.0 fWAR in just 56 games, putting him on pace to put together a 5.4 fWAR/150 pace, and that’s extremely encouraging for the Yankees, who could use a big left-handed bat.

The Yankees and Cubs have plenty of trade history, with the Anthony Rizzo and Scott Effross deal happening in back-to-back seasons. If the Cubs were to sell, the Yankees are a familiar target and these two teams could reach another agreement on a high-profile player that could bolster their World Series odds. This is one of the best left-handed outfielders in baseball, and. the Yankees are in desperate need of any form of offense they can get.

Tomorrow they’ll look to end a three-game losing skid and try to climb back into a playoff spot, but they’ve got to wake their bats up soon, or else those postseason odds are going to slip out of their hands.

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