In the Catholic faith, Easter marks the end of Lent: a 40 day span when adherents are supposed to sacrifice a tempting but negative aspect of their lives and substitute the negative with a more beneficial replacement so that they can be reborn as better human beings. The 2021 Yankees were challenged by the Orioles in a way that their divisional rivals were not. New York fans were likely hoping that the Yankees would sacrifice their struggles against the Orioles and re-emerge on Easter as an established force in the American League East. This sacrifice did not happen.
If the 2021 season taught the Yankees anything, it is that inexcusable losses will add up at the end of the season and haunt in the loss column. While the Yankees had numerous inexcusable losses, including blown leads, they failed to stack up easy wins against the Orioles and take advantage of such a weak team.
With all of that in mind, losing two of three games against the 1-5 Orioles (going into the series) reeks of the evils of old. April games do matter, and if the Yankees do not take them seriously, they may find themselves gasping for air when they could have had breathing room.
Prior to this series, the Yankees had a pretty good start to the season. They took two of three from the Red Sox and split a series with the AL East favorite Blue Jays. If they had swept the Orioles, the Yankees would be going into an off day on a 7-3 record with incredible confidence heading into a few consecutive series against weak baseball teams. Now, the Yankees are in a position where they have to overachieve and demolish their upcoming competition in order to compensate.
I will recall to my favorite phrase from my high school coach, ”Pick up pennies because one day you will need a dollar.”
What is particularly telling about the Yankees organization is their willingness to sit Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, and D.J. LeMahieu at various points during the season, despite the off day after the series concludes. This sends a loud and clear message: the Yankees expect to beat the Orioles without their best firepower. Even more simply: the Yankees did not take this series seriously. While most fans would agree with the sentiment, one cannot help but wonder if the over confidence leads to underperformance. At the very least, if the Yankees showed the same result with their best line up every day, fans would not be wondering about the “what if.” The Yankees series against the Orioles smells of arrogance and an out-of-touch upper management in the organization. Fans can only hope this is not a sign of things to come.
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images