Bats go missing in Yankees' search for O

HOUSTON -- Joe Giardi's postgame news conference took place in the batting cage, which is where his hitters may need to spend a little more time.

When Girardi's players spoke after the New York Yankees manager, they echoed their leaders' mantra that it is only two games.

"There are 160 games left," Alfonso Soriano said.

They are, of course, right. These are only two games, but the Yankees' bats failed again. Soriano looks awful at the plate, displaying the greatest fears that some in the baseball operations department had about acquiring him in the first place last season. He can be too impatient and strike out way too much.

Soriano, who is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts after two games, led an army of veteran Yankees hitters who failed inning after inning with runners in scoring position. They were a total of 0-for-10 with opportunities to score.

"We're going to be fine, man," Carlos Beltran said.

They might be, but they wasted Hiroki Kuroda's fine work. Kuroda started off by giving up a solo shot to Dexter Fowler. He then settled down to hold the Astros to just one more run in his six innings. It was the type of solid performance that could have earned him a victory instead of a loss.

Beltran tried to do his part late. He hit a leadoff double to begin the eighth. He received no support.

With the Yankees down two runs, they had their fourth, fifth and sixth batters up. Astros righty reliever Matt Albers struck out Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira and Soriano to end the inning. The Yankees struck out a total of 10 times on the night.

"We haven't been able to put anything together offensively, but I think we have what it takes to play better and win ballgames," Beltran said.

They do have that, for sure. This Yankee team could be very good, but even if they live up to their potential, letting games against what should be a bad Astros team slip away is the type of thing that could keep them out of the playoffs.

"Playoffs!?!" you are probably thinking in your Jim Mora voice. Not with this start. At this early juncture, the Yankees have looked nothing like a playoff team. Still, they cling to the fact that it is early.

"It is just the second game of the season," Beltran said.

True, the first week -- which usually isn't that great in the best of Yankees years -- makes things more apparent. So there is no need to panic yet, even if they know it would be nice to leave Texas with a win.

"It is an important game because obviously you want to get on that side of the column and you want to start putting some wins together," Girardi said.

Girardi spoke in the batting cage because there was too much media to fit comfortably inside his office in the road clubhouse. Everything always seems a little out-sized for the Yankees, even an 0-2 start.