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Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Second half: Five reasons NOT to watch

By Andrew Marchand

CC Sabathia probably isn't asleep in this photo, but Yankee Stadium sure has been slumbering during many games this season.
The Yankees enter the second half with a showdown series against the first-place Red Sox. The Yankees trail Boston by six games and are three back of the second wild card. So why should you be pessimistic? Well, let's count five of the reasons.

(If you are more the glass-half-full type, click here.)

1. THEY'RE BORING: The Yankees are not only winning less, but they are doing it in an uninspired way. Every game, they have two batters whom you would expect to see in their usual lineup. Besides Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner, the lineup leaves much to be desired.

2. THEIR RUN DIFFERENTIAL: The Yankees are seven games over .500 but have scored two fewer runs than their opponents (373-375). That usually portends doom. Over the course of 162 games, these things usually even themselves out.

3. THE SCHEDULE: The Yankees are 8-1 against Toronto. They are 17-7 against the AL Central. That adds up to 25-8. Against everyone else, they are 26-36. The schedule the rest of the way is mostly against everybody else.

The Yankees play the Blue Jays and the AL Central nine more times each. Three of those games are with the fearsome Detroit Tigers, while six are against the last-place Chicago White Sox.

The Yankees are 12-19 against United States-based AL East teams. They play 26 games against the Red Sox, Rays and Orioles. The team they play the most? The best team in the American League so far -- the Red Sox. The Yankees face them 12 times, beginning with the three this weekend.

4. SCORELESS NIGHTS: The Yankees can't score, and there is little reason to believe they are going to start. GM Brian Cashman said he will call up anyone who is hitting at Triple-A. The guy doesn't have to be a prospect, but anyone who can help will be summoned. The Yankees are desperate for offense.

No one likes excuses, but the Yankees have lost five of their top seven hitters for basically the entire season. That is really hard to overcome.

5. NO TRADES: I never like to say trades aren't happening, but this doesn't feel like a time that Cashman will try to strike for a large acquisition. The Yankees don't have great assets to trade and are not going to add players where they have injured regulars. Plus, they have Hal Steinbrenner's $189 million goal. Cashman is a little boxed in and is dealing with a market that he says is not heavy with bats.