Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

Things aren’t so great in the Bronx right now.

Maybe I should pen a sympathy note?

On second thought, I’ll pass.

As we enter the final week of July, the Red Sox keep on winning and have extended their lead in the American League East to a 2018-best six games. Meanwhile, the Yankees are faced with their most challenging moment of the season to date and all of a sudden are teetering on the edge of contention in the division.

I question whether the Yankees have the pitching to right the ship, but perhaps more importantly for the Yanks, I question whether they have the accountability to address their problems.

The Yankees have played lackluster baseball in recent weeks and are just 9-8 since beating the Sox on July 1. Their poor play was encapsulated and magnified in Monday night’s 7-6 loss to Tampa Bay in which catcher Gary Sanchez loafed around twice and cost them the game.

Jun 23, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL: New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Jun 23, 2018; St. Petersburg, FL: New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Sanchez is now “injured,” conveniently, and was placed on the disabled list Tuesday. First year manager Aaron Boone, who to the best of anyone’s knowledge hadn’t even managed a Little League team before he took the reins of the most storied franchise in all of American sports, danced around criticizing his prized power-hitting catcher for his lack of hustle after Monday’s game.

What a disaster. Don’t you hate to see that, Red Sox fans?

Meanwhile, the 2018 Red Sox haven’t had a loss as bad as the one the Yankees experienced Monday night. Not even close.

Of course, the Sox have barely lost at all.

Many have dismissed the Red Sox historically good season because they have beat up on some of the worst American League competition in recent memory. But the Yankees, comparatively, have struggled against some of the worst teams in the league.

The Yankees are 10-10 against the lowly Rays and the abysmal Orioles. The Red Sox are 19-5 against those same teams.

Isn’t beating the teams you should beat a heck of a lot better than not beating the teams you should beat?

The Yankees are a flawed team and they appear more flawed with each passing day. The Red Sox, on the other hand, have managed to hide their issues on their way to a 71-31 record.

New York’s starting rotation is a legitimate problem, and while the Yankees have the prospect capital to add a starter at the deadline, this July’s pitching market appears to be weaker than in years past.

The two best pitchers who might move at the deadline are playing in Queens. It would be a shock if the Mets traded Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard to the Bronx given that the two franchises are in direct business competition with each other.

It’s hard to imagine the likes of J.A. Happ, Matt Harvey, and 34-year-old Cole Hamels having the type of impact on the Yankees that Justin Verlander had on the Astros last year.

In a year where the Yankees desperately need pitching, the lack of a true frontline starter on the market is noticeable. Will that be their undoing in the end?

With a week to go until the trading deadline, it’s clear Yankees GM Brian Cashman has some work to do. Six games back with roughly 60 to play is not an insurmountable gap, especially given that the Red Sox have their fair share of concerns, too

But at this point, it’s looks like the Yankees have more problems than the Red Sox. Both teams have some talent flaws on key parts of the roster, but the Yankees might have an effort and accountability flaw. Monday night proved that.

That problem is much harder to fix.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.