The New York Yankees enjoyed a solid start to the 2014 Major League Baseball campaign, however the Bronx Bombers are now facing major issues as the month of May begins.
New York dropped its third game in a row after losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in extra innings on Friday night, which comes after two straight losses against Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners.
Granted, losses and losing streaks happen over the long haul of a season, but issues surrounding the team are not a good sign for the Yanks moving forward.
Vidal Nuno, who is filling the void for Ivan Nova after he was lost for the season, seems to be no better than a five-inning pitcher in each of his starts and a 4.2-inning, four-run effort on Friday didn't help ease that fear.
Before that, CC Sabathia bombed in yet another start and those kinds of starts are becoming the norm for the 33-year-old. Hiroki Kuroda, the team's undisputed ace coming into the season, isn't looking quite like himself. Such a fact has to worry the Yanks that Kuroda could potentially be in the midst of a decline at the age of 39 as he sports an ERA north of five.
Michael Pineda's back injury isn't helping things, either. Pineda will miss the next three to four weeks and has become a running joke around the league for those pine tar incidents that got him suspended in the first place.
Nevertheless, Pineda is dealing with injuries and that adds to the major concerns that were rampant going into the season in regard to his ability to stay healthy. His replacement, David Phelps, has always been a reliable pitcher for New York, although Phelps doesn't have the talent Pineda possesses when at his best.
The only semblance of consistency in the Yanks rotation is coming from a rookie, Masahiro Tanaka. If Tanaka has a few bad starts, all hell will break look in Yankees Universe.
The bullpen has been solid as well, but how much can New York rely on some of the relative unknowns coming out of the 'pen this season? Not to mention, the depletion of the bullpen as a whole due to the Yanks not getting length out of some of their starters and, of course, the injuries.
To make matters worse for the Yanks, their offense still isn't clicking the way manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman had hoped when the team dumped hundreds of millions of dollars on it this offseason.
While the Yanks' .263 team average ranks them sixth, they are No. 18 in the MLB in runs scored and the Bombers aren't bombing much being ranked in the middle of the pack in homers.
Another troubling stat is the Yanks' run differential number, which stands at -18 and is one of the worst not only in baseball today, but in the team's history. Considering that fact, it's pretty amazing New York is where it is in the standings today, which is just .5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East.
The Yankees -18 run differential is ninth worst in franchise history after 28 games.
— The Captain's Blog (@williamnyy23) May 3, 2014
On the upside, there is clearly room for improvement for this team and it's likely the team as a whole hasn't hit its stride yet. But accomplishing that will take an improvement all around, especially in the pitching department, and that improvement on the mound just may not be possible for some of the elements in the Yanks' starting five.
A trade may be what this team needs in order to fill the holes and shore up some of the weaknesses that exist.
It's doubtful anything will be done just yet, but if guys like Sabathia and Kuroda keep throwing duds and the solutions from within fail, the Yanks will have no choice but to make a move unless they want to waste everything they spent in the offseason.
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