Yankees leftfielder Alex Verdugo returns to the dugout after grounding...

Yankees leftfielder Alex Verdugo returns to the dugout after grounding into a double play to end the sixth inning against Atlanta in an MLB game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

For years, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has used the same phrase regarding the adversity pretty much every team goes through during the season:

“The storm is coming.”

That storm typically takes the form of injuries, though it also can be prolonged inconsistent performance, or flat-out underperformance, of players expected to regularly contribute.

For the Yankees, who have lost seven of their last 10 games entering the first leg of the 2024 Subway Series, which starts Tuesday night at Citi Field, it has been a combination of the above.

Now, not all storms are created equal. The Yankees entered Monday with an MLB-best 52 victories, and their .650 winning percentage trailed only the Phillies (.662) and the Guardians (.653).

This is not a team struggling with the buy-or-sell question before next month’s trade deadline. There is little to suggest the Yankees won’t be battling deep into September with the Orioles — who were swept by the Astros over the weekend — for the AL East crown.

But there are concerning trends.

Giancarlo Stanton, who was enjoying a rebound year, became the latest Yankee to hit the injured list. He was placed there on Sunday after suffering a left hamstring strain in the Yankees’ 8-3 win over Atlanta on Saturday night.

After the Yankees’ 3-1 loss to Atlanta on Sunday, Aaron Boone said it was too early to give a time frame for Stanton’s return. But the always professional Stanton, apparently not in the mood to engage in the club’s usual obsessive secrecy, said he will be out “about four weeks.”

Given Stanton’s history with lower-body injuries, including a strain of the same hamstring early last season that sidelined him for six weeks, the Yankees would sign up for four weeks.

Earlier last week came the news of Anthony Rizzo being lost for at least two months with a right forearm fracture. And though the first baseman has not performed well either at the plate or in the field, he was, because of his past success, a hitter whom pitchers still had to be mindful of.

It has been death by a thousand cuts with the injuries and the toll on organizational depth.

Clarke Schmidt, who was off to a tremendous start (2.52 ERA) in his second full season as a starter, is on the 60-day IL with a right lat strain. Jonathan Loaisiga, who was expected to be a key bullpen cog, is on the 60-day IL with a right flexor strain. Utilityman Jon Berti, whom the Yankees acquired the day before Opening Day for added depth, is on the 60-day IL with a left calf strain. Top position prospect Jasson Dominguez would have replaced Stanton on the roster, but the 21-year-old outfielder suffered a significant left oblique strain on June 15 and is expected to be sidelined for at least two months.

The everyday lineup slowly has become less fearsome. Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, both American League MVP candidates, are obvious exceptions. Leadoff man Anthony Volpe is, too. So was Stanton before getting hurt.

But Alex Verdugo, playing the best leftfield for the franchise since Brett Gardner, hasn’t hit up to expectations. The career .277 hitter is batting .247 through 76 games this season. Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu also are well below their career marks.

The bullpen, as good as any in the game during the first two months, has shown recent cracks.

The rotation — terrific all season without ace Gerrit Cole — is still trending upward. There’s certainly no reason to expect the unit to get worse as Cole gets his legs under him in the coming weeks. He will make his second start of the season on Tuesday night. Rookie Luis Gil was 9-1 with a 2.03 ERA before being knocked around by the Orioles last week.

“Nobody’s hanging their heads, nobody’s panicking in here,” Nestor Cortes said after pitching well in his loss to Atlanta on Sunday. “Just a rough patch that [over] 162 games you’re going to go through. Just have to figure out a way to get out of it.”

Historically, the Mets have served the Yankees well in that regard. The Yankees are 80-62 against their crosstown rivals, the most wins by one team over a single opponent in the history of interleague play.

But predict these Subway Series games at your peril (Exhibit A is the first interleague matchup between the clubs on June 16, 1997, when Dave Mlicki outpitched Andy Pettitte in a 6-0 Mets victory). These next two nights at Citi Field, regardless of the predictable overreaction accompanying the outcomes, aren’t a referendum on the Yankees’ 2024 chances. Or the Mets’, for that matter. There are no must-win games, or series, in June.

But for the Yankees, the two-game set at the very least will give an indication of whether there are clearer skies ahead or the forecast of a worsening storm.

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