3

On the eve of New York City's annual Subway Series, its' worth taking a look at the teams. The Mets and Yankees roll into their yearly matchup having ridden a roller coaster throughout the season.

The Mets came into the season with high hopes as they had made it to the postseason in consecutive years for the first time in over a decade. The Yanks meanwhile, faced a rebuilding year with low expectations.

As the season got under way the teams engaged in a Freaky Friday swap. The Mets have gone from high hopes to rebuilding, while the Bombers went from rebuilding to contenders. As these teams prepare to face-off, it is fair to note, that the Yanks' once promising season is beginning to spiral down the drain.

While the Mets have waved the white flag with the trades of Jay Bruce, Addison Reed, and Neil Walker, the Yanks are fighting to save their season from a Mets like finish. That being said, here's what's causing the Yankees' demise and how to fix it.

After getting off to a 1-4 start for the first time since 1998, the Yanks went on a tear reminiscent of that magical '98 team. 30 games into the season, the Bronx Bombers were 21-9 and being hailed as the best team in baseball.

The fruits of their recent trades and the development of their best prospects were blossoming earlier than expected, thus leading to a Major-League best record. Since that point, the Yankees have been under .500, and have slipped to a season-high 5.5 games back of the AL East leading Boston Red Sox.

While they sit far enough back of the rival BoSox to make an AL East Division crown unlikely, they still control the Number One wild card spot in the AL -- a 1.5 game lead has them sitting above the second wild card Anaheim Angels.

Top Videos of the Day

On June 12th, the Yankees had a projected 88% chance at making the postseason, now, their projected percentage is down to 65%.

Injuries

Between losing Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, Matt Holliday, Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and others for prolonged stretches of the season's second-half, the Yankees haven't been able to field their Opening Day lineup in months.

While Ronald Torreyes and others have filled in admirably, there's a reason why the starters are starters and the role players are role players. The Yankees need to get healthy before they can think about making a serious playoff run.

Inconsistent bullpen

A bullpen that has been more nightmare than a dream this season had finally seemed to be settling down, that is, until Aroldis Chapman decided to have the worst season of his career.

In name, reputation, and contract, Chapman is the Yankees' closer. For better or worse the Bombers signed him to a five-year/$86million contract during the offseason, and now that not only seems like an overpay but a down right albatross.Blowing four saves in 19 chances is not good and there's no sugar coating it.

His latest meltdown involved coughing up the game-tying home run to Red Sox rookie Rafael Devers in the 9th-inning of last nights game. He was then charged with the loss when he came out for the 10th-inning and allowed two batters to reach base before being removed. Tommy Kahnle was summoned from the pen and promptly walked the bases loaded before giving up a go-ahead single to Andrew Benintendi.

It is time for Joe Girardi to make a change. No longer can he afford to let Chapman work through his issues in save situations. The Yankees have to win every game they can at this point, and Chapman doesn't give them their best chance to close out games. Both David Robertson and Dellin Betances have closing experience and should be given the chance to close out games while Chapman works his kinks out in lower leverage situations.

Dead Bats Society

A lethal offense has become putrid in the second-half and the biggest culprit is Aaron Judge. The key cog in the lineup during a historic first-half, Judge is now weighing down the lineup with his strikeouts and inability to get a hit. Judge has struck out in 30 straight games, two shy of the all-time record, and is on pace to break the single-season all-time strikeouts record.

YES Network announcer Paul O'Neil recently commented about what he believes is wrong with Judge and how to fix it. Until Judge gets straightened out, expect more offensive struggles for the team. For now, the best Yankees fans can hope for is that they drop Judge in the lineup and allow him to work out his issues in less pressurized spots. It worked for Hideki Matsui in 2003 and it can work for Judge in 2017.

Joe Girardi

The incessant mismanaging of the classic micro manager Joe Girardi is bringing down the Yankees' season. Where to begin? They say a good manager adds five to seven wins per season for a team. While a bad manager costs his team five to seven games. If that's what a bad manager costs his team, then Joe Girardi is in a class all to himself. There are no more free passes. It's time to call a spade a spade, Girardi can't manage.

He is useless when it comes to making tough decisions, and even worse, he doesn't recognize when it's time for a decision to be made until it's too late. His misusage of the bullpen is far worse than that of his predecessor Joe Torre. Take the Chapman issue for instance. Girardi came out in the New York Post and said, "He's my closer." Why? Why say that? Why not say, "We have the utmost confidence in Chapman, but we are looking at any and all options." Even if you don't make a change, at least the illusion of making a change will satisfy fans and analysts alike. Instead, he's tying himself to his now suspect closer.

Girardi's decision making is not helping the Yankees win games, but it is costing them games, and if he doesn't learn from his mistakes then it's time for him to be replaced. There are no two ways around it. Either shape up or ship out.

There are 40 some odd games left in the season, and there's still time for the Bombers to right the ship -- they did it under similar circumstances in 1996 -- but as the late-Yogi Berra once said, "It's getting late early."

Well, New York, there you have it, now let the Subway Series begin.