The New York Yankees have a 7-8 record in June, with six of those wins coming against the Mariners and Indians, and their schedule is about to get even more brutal. To make matters worse, the Yankees will have to tough it out without Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira as they try to keep their heads above water in the AL East. Youkilis will need surgery for a herniated disk in his back and is expected to miss 10 to 12 weeks, while Teixeira has been placed on the DL for the second time this season after aggravating his right wrist last week.
New York's corner infielders heading into this season have combined to play just 43 games, hitting a total of five home runs in 181 plate appearances while striking out 50 times. They're also combining to make over $35 million this season. Youkilis was signed to a one year deal this winter and will be a free agent following the season, but Teixeira is locked in through the 2016 season at $23 million per year. Those two Yankees haven't been the only ones to deal with injuries, as the injury issues being dealt with by Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have been well-covered this year. The Yankees have also gotten just eight games from Curtis Granderson this year and 17 from Francisco Cervelli.
Tonight against the Dodgers, New York will trot out a lineup that includes Vernon Wells (.230/.273/.383) hitting cleanup, Thomas Neal (who has 30 career plate appearances) hitting fifth, David Adams (who hasn't walked this year in 77 plate appearances) hitting seventh, and Lyle Overbay (.232/.280/.440) hitting eighth. The Yankees have three legitimate hitters that are still healthy: Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, and Travis Hafner, who is a frail platoon player at this point in his career. Thankfully for New York, their rotation led by CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Andy Pettitte has been very good, and the Mariano Rivera/David Robertson led bullpen has been great.
But you need to score runs to win games, and the Yankees are having issues doing that. In June, the team is averaging a shade over three runs per game and has a .606 OPS. Only a handful of teams have been worse this month, and with a killer schedule that includes the Rays, Rangers, Orioles (twice), and Royals going into the All-Star Break, New York could soon find themselves looking up at the rest of the AL East in the standings.