MLB odds update: Yankees tumble to longshot status for World Series
We’re just one day away from the All-Star Break – the unofficial halfway point of the MLB season – and the New York Yankees are struggling. At a modest 46-42, the Yankees find themselves eight games behind the hated Boston Red Sox for the AL East lead, and 3 1/2 games behind the Oakland A’s for the second Wild Card spot (with the Seattle Mariners to leapfrog).
Oddsmakers have taken notice and acted accordingly; the Bombers were +900 to win the World Series on June 1, but have risen to +2500 as of Sunday morning. Let’s delve into the reasons behind New York’s shortcomings in 2021, and see if fortunes can be reversed before it’s too late.
World Series 2021
Tue, November 2 2021, 11:00 PM
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
Chicago White Sox
New York Mets
Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays
San Francisco Giants
Offense not as strong as in years past
In recent seasons, the Bombers have simply outslugged everyone on their way to the postseason. That hasn’t happened this year, as the Yankees are 22nd in the majors in runs per game (4.12), and 18th in slugging % (.394).
All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge has been healthy and is the team leader in homers (21) and RBI (47), but most everyone around him has been at least somewhat disappointing. DJ LeMahieu is hitting .271 this year, way down from his MLB-leading .364 average in 2020. Decent production from center and left field has been hard to come by, with Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, and Aaron Hicks all batting below the “Mendoza Line” on the campaign.
First base has also been a black hole for the Bombers, as they’re 25th in the majors by OPS at the position this season.
Chapman’s struggles are concerning
Aroldis Chapman has provided anything but relief as the New York closer over the last month.
Things I absolutely loved about this game-tying homer from Pete Alonso:— Matt Musico (@mmusico8) July 5, 2021
-- Chapman's reaction
-- The roar of #Mets fans at Yankee Stadium
-- Pete's excited trot around the bases
-- The handshake celebration with Conforto
These guys are never out of it. #LGM (via @Mets) pic.twitter.com/RJEmc4n6bW
Since blowing just his second save of the year against the Minnesota Twins on June 10, Chapman has converted only four of his last six save chances, pitching to a 13.50 ERA in the process. It’s left some wondering if “The Cuban Missile” will be stripped of closing duties for the Yankees soon.
Can the Yankees turn it around?
While there’s still plenty of baseball yet to be played, it seems like the Bombers have dug themselves too big a hole to climb out of based on their available personnel. It also appears that the Red Sox will not come back down to earth like many have predicted.
Boston was a +5000 longshot to win the World Series when the season began, but now they’re only +1000 and have the most wins of any team in the AL (55). The Red Sox are fourth in baseball in OPS (.761) and could be a few weeks away from improving on their 13th-ranked staff ERA (4.09) with the return of Chris Sale from Tommy John surgery.