It may feel like the Yankees’ season was slow and painful from the very beginning. In reality that wasn’t the case at all. If you recall, the Yankees started the 2020 season 8-1. Yes, believe it or not, there was a point where it felt like the Yankees may never lose again. Aaron Judge was on a crash course for MVP, and Giancarlo Stanton was the Yankees’ best hitter. There would be a bit of sputtering after that start, though, eventually turning to 10-6, before settling at 16-6 after 22 games. However, over the course of one week, from August 8th to August 15th, the Yankees saw LeMahieu, Judge, and Stanton all land on the Injured List.
So, the Yankees had started the season 16-6, but it came at a cost. As they headed into a three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays on August 18th, their best three players were absent from the lineup. Instead, Thairo Estrada, Tyler Wade, and Mike Ford became regulars while Gio Urshela, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, and Aaron Hicks packed the middle of the lineup. Is that such a bad lineup? no. Is it the usual LeMahieu, Judge, Stanton trio? Definitely not.
As aforementioned, the Yankees were banged up heading into a three-game series with the Rays, who they had already dropped two out of three against earlier in the season. This time around, though, the Rays swept the Yankees. Following that series, the Yankees had six days off due to positive coronavirus tests out of the New York Mets. Plenty of time to recover from a sweep and bounce back, right?