With the equivalent of two NFL games of the season gone by, the New York Yankees are in last place. There are reasons for pessimism, which is exemplified by their 8-12 record.
Their offense has been awful, scoring three runs or fewer in 15 of 20 games and two runs or fewer in half of their games. They will finish April with a losing record for the first time since Joe Girardi's initial month as the Yankees manager in 2008. They did not make the playoffs that year.
The biggest reason to be positive is that the Yankees have not played their best baseball yet -- or any semblance of it, while the American League East looks as if it is ruled by parity. No team has started overwhelmingly well.
The Yankees, despite being in last, could shoot up to the top of the standings with one hot week of baseball.
That said, as the Yankees head to Boston for their first series of the season against the Red Sox, let's look at the issues that have made the 2016 edition of the Bronx Bombers a very frustrating team to watch thus far.
1. The Yankees aren't hitting.
Rodriguez has begun slowly -- though he showed signs of life on Wednesday -- while Teixeira has been only OK.
Ellsbury has not lived up to his $153 million deal, despite occasional flair. Beltran has been very good at the plate to start a walk year.
Overall, the Yankees have been unable to hit with runners in scoring position, which -- beyond any one player -- is the reason they have struggled so mightily to score.
2. The starting pitching has not been very good.
The questionable Yankees starting staff has not received many positive answers. While Masahiro Tanaka has not been an ace, he has pitched very well. Nathan Eovaldi flirted with a no-hitter recently, but is still inconsistent. CC Sabathia is pitching like a No. 5 starter, which is to say not too long and moderately effective. Michael Pineda and Luis Severino have been complete disappointments thus far.
3. Aroldis Chapman will be back soon, but is not the solution.
If anyone thinks that adding Chapman to the team will be a cure, they are a bit insane. Chapman, of course, figures to make the Yankees better when he returns from his domestic violence suspension on May 9. That doesn't necessarily mean the Yankees will win more games with Chapman.
Chapman, or one of the other relievers, could eventually become a trade chip to help in another area.
4. The Yankees haven't really been hurt yet.
The Yankees' roster is brittle, but it hasn't broken yet. While they have had a number of injuries to prospects such as Greg Bird and James Kaprielian, and relievers, the big guys have yet to go down for any extended periods. That probably won't continue.
There is a lot of the season left for the Yankees, which may or may not be a good thing.