Yankees: Offensive Woes Rear Their Ugly Head
Same old Yankees.
Well, maybe that colloquialism isn’t exactly accurate in this case. Depends how “old” you’re talking about. The Yankees from the late ‘90s and early 2000s would be bashing home runs and winning close game after close game, thanks to timely hits from a different hero each night.
So perhaps a more apt phrase to encapsulate the way the Yankees are currently playing would be “Same old new Yankees.” In 2009, when they last won the World Series, the Yankees hit .272 with runners in scoring position. Over the last few seasons, that number has slowly declined and it’s currently at .250.
It certainly came down a few points this past weekend. Sunday was the perfect illustration of the lineup’s impotence. Yankee batters managed only one hit in 17 opportunities with runners in scoring position, a single by Ichiro Suzuki in the second inning that didn’t even score Yangervis Solarte from second base.
Oh, and did we mention they also had the bases loaded with nobody out in the same inning and somehow managed not to score? It takes an extraordinary level of slumping to achieve that distinction, one that basically dictates you don’t deserve to win the game, no matter what else happens.
But right now you’re thinking their starting pitching is in trouble and they wouldn’t have won these games, regardless of what the lineup did, right? Wrong. Hiroki Kuroda has given up only three earned runs in his last two starts (13 2/3 innings combined) and has nothing to show for them except a 0-1 record.
In fact, starters over the last seven days have a combined ERA of 3.34, so you really can’t blame them for the Yankees’ losing ways. Especially impressive has been Chase Whitley. He’s 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in five starts, and the Yankees are 4-1 in those five games.
So who can you blame? Just about everyone not named Jacoby Ellsbury or Solarte. In the past week they have hit .414 and .333, respectively. But it only goes down from there. The two big free agent signings acquired to add pop in the lineup have been relative nonentities; Brian McCann has hit .190 in the past week and only .225 overall, and Carlos Beltran has been even worse: .218 on the season, and 1-for-14 since coming back from the disabled list Friday.
Alfonso Soriano has been another disappointment, what with his inability to hit the broad side of a barn in quite some time. Never has the line “one, two, three strikes, you’re out” held more veracity than when Soriano is at the plate. In his last 13 at bats he has struck out eight times.
In April and May we stuck to the alibi that the AL East would be a close race, as the rest of the division was as banged up as the Yankees. But as Yankee players slowly start to trickle in from the DL, the excuses are wearing thin. Plus, Toronto had a scorching first week of June and pulled away from the rest of the pack. They’re currently six games ahead of the Yankees.
Offensive injuries are no longer the problem. The Yankee lineup looks exactly the way Brian Cashman envisioned it in the offseason. They just aren’t producing the way anyone envisioned.
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