Less than two months ago it was reasonable to wonder whether the New York Yankees could chase down the 2001 Mariners and 1906 Cubs and break the single-season record of 116 wins. New York was firing on all cylinders and they woke up on the morning of June 19 with a 49-16 record. That's a 122-win pace. No other team was within nine games of the Yankees at the time.

Fast forward to today and it's reasonable to wonder whether the Yankees will win even 100 games. Since peaking at 49-16, New York is 22-25, and the team is 13-19 in its last 32 games. The Yankees are 1-6 in their last seven games. Their 71-41 record is obviously still excellent (it's a 103-win pace), but going 29-21 the rest of the way to get to 100 wins suddenly looks like it could be a challenge.

"We know we're going to be fine in the long run, but it gets more and more frustrating every day that we don't come out with a win," catcher Kyle Higashioka told MLB.com after Wednesday's loss (SEA 4, NYY 3). "We're not satisfied with that. So this is the time of the season where you really need to pull together, because it's a long year and it only gets tougher as it goes on. We've just got to dig a little deeper and get ready to go tomorrow."

The Yankees are 22-25 in their last 47 games despite a plus-60 run differential because nearly all their losses are close games. Only two of those 24 losses have been by more than three runs, and 17 have been by no more than two runs. Meanwhile, 12 of those 22 wins have been by more than three runs. The Yankees keep winning blowouts and losing close games.

On one hand, the Yankees were never all that likely to win 116 games. There's a reason it's only happened twice in the sport's history. At some point the Yankees were going to come back to Earth and that's exactly what's happened. The 2022 Yankees look more like a pretty standard 100-ish win team than the greatest team of their generation, and hey, that's still really good.

On the other hand, the Yankees have played shoddy baseball the last few weeks, with far too many defensive breakdowns and mental mistakes. That was never more evident than Tuesday night, when they managed to erase their automatic runner in three consecutive extra innings with poor baserunning against the Mariners.

"I don't want to lose our aggression on the bases. We've been really successful," manager Aaron Boone told MLB.com following the game. "But, you know, we've got to be a little smarter. And we've had a couple here in the last couple of weeks that have kind of hurt us."

The Yankees have an off-day Thursday, then Friday night they will begin an important 12 games in 12 days stretch that includes 10 games against AL East rivals and two games against the high-powered New York Mets. If they're going to right the ship during this 12-game stretch, they'll have to do it against some of the best competition they'll face all year.

Here are four reasons the Yankees have fallen off a historic winning pace and are playing close to .500 ball the last two months.

 

1. They've dealt with injuries.

Every team has injuries and no one should feel sorry for the Yankees. Injuries aren't an excuse for poor play, they're just a reality. In recent weeks the Yankees lost setup men Chad Green (Tommy John surgery) and Michael King (elbow fracture) to season-ending injuries, possibly resurgent slugger Matt Carpenter (broken foot) as well, plus Luis Severino (lat strain) and Giancarlo Stanton (Achilles tendinitis) have been out several weeks too. That's a lot of important players on the shelf.