The New York Yankees moved to 17-22 on Wednesday with a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, but owner Hal Steinbrenner is not happy his team is in last place in the American League East.

He specifically singled out the players while deflecting blame from manager Joe Girardi and the rest of the coaching staff, per

The first five weeks were disappointing, frustrating, particularly looking at the offense. … The coaches are doing a good job. These are professional athletes. They’re the best baseball players in the world, and sooner or later it comes down to them, on the inside, to push through whatever it is they’re going through and to persevere.

Steinbrenner mentioned the offense’s poor performance, which is not surprising considering their statistical rankings across the league entering play Wednesday:

The Yankees simply don’t resemble the usual powerful lineup fans are accustomed to seeing don the pinstripes. New York won six World Series titles when Steinbrenner’s father, George, was running things, but the elder Steinbrenner was never afraid to challenge coaches or players with his fiery attitude.

His son took a cue on Wednesday and singled out some underperformers, including first baseman Mark Teixeira, per “When you look at a guy like [Teixeira], clearly, he’s not playing to his potential with the bat.”

Teixeira is a three-time All-Star, five-time Gold Glove winner and three-time Silver Slugger recipient who has 12 different seasons with more than 20 home runs and nine different campaigns with at least 30 long balls on his sterling resume. However, the 36-year-old was sporting a .211 batting average with three home runs and 11 RBI entering play Wednesday.

Teixeira didn’t shy away from the criticism, per “I don’t blame him. I’ve been terrible the last month. I’ve been around long enough to know that you’re going to get singled out when you’re not producing, especially the type of career that I’ve had.”

Steinbrenner was focused on the poor offensive numbers, but he also looked toward starting pitcher Michael Pineda. Steinbrenner said, “All these strikeouts, and yet he’s given up these runs. Whatever technically is wrong with the delivery, Larry [Rothschild, pitching coach] is going to work on, but the rest is up to Pineda to figure out. He’s a professional, and that’s what we expect from him, and that’s what his teammates expect from him.”

Pineda does have 50 strikeouts in 43.2 innings, but he also boasts a 1-5 record with an ugly 6.60 ERA and 1.65 WHIP. He was solid but unspectacular last season with a 4.37 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, but his 2016 performance is a far cry from 2014, when he finished with a sparkling 1.89 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 76.1 innings and 13 starts.

He looked like a Yankees superstar-in-the-making at the time, but he has been anything but this season.

It is fair to wonder if the Yankees are too old to realistically compete for an American League East crown this year, especially after such a poor start. They were counting on a number of aging veterans entering the season who were all 32 years old or older:

Steinbrenner wasn’t ready to concede that point when reflecting on the poor start. “I don’t think it’s a flaw in the way the team is put together. I think the team we have this year is better than the team we had last year,” he said, per

The Yankees did add pieces such as closer Aroldis Chapman and second baseman Starlin Castro to a team that finished 87-75 and reached the American League Wild Card Game in 2015, where it lost to the Houston Astros. However, New York missed the playoffs the two years prior and may be better served moving on from this core and starting a rebuilding process.

Still, the Yankees are one of the pillar franchises in all of professional sports and made the playoffs 17 times and won six World Series titles from 1995-2012. Rebuilding isn’t in their blood, and Steinbrenner sounded like someone who still believes they can make a run this season.

For his part, Girardi was quick to accept the blame for the start, per Wallace Matthews of “I always take full responsibility for what happens here—good or bad. It’s my job to get the best out of the players, and right now, we’re not performing to the level I think we’re capable of.”

The silver lining for the Yankees is the fact it is still early in a long season, and they are within striking distance of the first-place Baltimore Orioles at 7.5 games back. They were also only four games back in the wild-card race after Wednesday’s victory and have plenty of time to turn things around.

If they don’t, they will probably hear about it from Steinbrenner.

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