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Saving  grace

To argue that the Yankees have struggled for form in the second half of the 2022 campaign of Major League Baseball would be to understate the obvious. They began it with a 64-28 record, a whopping 15 games better than that of the second-running Blue Jays in the American League East. Heck, they were better than the Astros, better than the Mets, and even better than the Dodgers. And then, for one reason or another, they went on a freefall; at one point last, they posted an atrocious 3-14 slate marked by losing streaks of five, three, three, and three matches. And then, just when it seemed as if they addressed their woes to post a five-contest winning skein, they went absorbed setbacks in six of their next seven outings.

Today, the Yankees stand at 90-58, a mere handful ahead for the Division crown with 14 left on their regular season schedule. They’re fortunate to face the slumping Red Sox in the next four set-tos, which should provide them with a cushion heading into a significant series against the Blue Jays. That said, they’ve never been about hanging on. For as long as the sport has been around, pinstripes didn’t only mean success; they meant domination. And, yes, whatever impressions they may have created with their historic run prior to the All-Star break cannot but be considered a mirage.

To be sure, the Yankees weren’t given any favors by the spate of injuries they suffered. Still, there can be no excusing their inexplicably poor form on both offense and defense. There’s a reason they’re flat out bad in close contests; even a simple eye test shows how badly they have performed in the crunch with outcomes on the line. Bottom line, their decision-making skills under pressure have left much to be desired.

Under the circumstances, they should count their lucky stars Aaron Judge is in the midst of an otherworldly offensive assault — and far more than the fact that his production has kept them on the right side of competitive. He’s the reason they remain the hottest ticket in town, and, when all is said and done, he may well be the lone cause of 2022 being a remarkable year for the Bombers. Because this is what it has come down to for them: from getting the closest to the hardware to needing a saving grace.

Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is a consultant on strategic planning, operations and Human Resources management, corporate communications, and business development.

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