Friday, June 21, 2013
Yankees' offense is scary bad right now
By Kieran Darcy
NEW YORK -- Even when the Yankees do score runs these days, it’s ugly.
Don’t be fooled by that 8-3 final score. The Yanks looked just as anemic against the Rays on Thursday as they looked against the Dodgers the night before.
The Bronx Bombers -- and we use that term loosely -- had just six hits against Tampa Bay. Five of them were singles -- two of the infield variety. The only extra-base knock? A ground-rule double by Lyle Overbay in the seventh inning.
The Yankees (39-33) have now lost seven of nine and have scored just 15 runs combined in those seven defeats.
The Yankees had just six hits in Thursday's opener.
"We’re in a little funk right now, and we need to get out of it," center fielder Brett Gardner said.
The Yanks were facing a tough pitcher in Matt Moore, who was 8-0 with a 2.18 ERA in the first two months of the season. But he'd been awful in his first three starts of June, giving up 19 runs in 12⅓ innings and losing all three.
Moore was better on Thursday -- at least in the Yankees' eyes.
"He’s got a fastball that’s 93, 94, 95 [miles per hour], but it plays up a little harder than that. And he's got a real good breaking ball," Gardner said. "When he’s able to command his pitches and throw strikes, he’s as good as it gets."
The Yankees did score three runs off Moore in the fourth inning -- but it was the weakest three-run inning you'll ever see. They had just one hit in the frame, a leadoff single by Reid Brignac. Gardner and Jayson Nix both walked to load the bases with nobody out. Brignac scored on a wild pitch, Gardner scored on a sac fly and Nix scored on a groundout to short.
Not exactly an offensive explosion.
Joe Girardi shook up the lineup, using Travis Hafner, even though the Yanks were facing a lefty. Hafner went 0-for-4, dropping his batting average on the season to .216 and his June average to .128.
Vernon Wells went 0-for-3 after going 0-for-7 in Wednesday's doubleheader. He's down to .221 overall, and .107 this month.
"I think the biggest thing is just getting good at-bats, and I don’t think we’ve done that consistently like we were," said Overbay, who was 1-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts. "It seems like we’re just kinda swinging at their pitches and not ours."
Girardi defended his team, saying the slump does not stem from a lack of effort.
"We got guys that are working their butts off," the manager said. "And, unfortunately, we haven’t been scoring a lot of runs lately, and it’s cost us some games. But these guys are working, and they’re doing everything that we’re asking them to do."
The truth is, this team hasn't been very good offensively all season. The pitching has carried the way. The Yanks have the fourth-best team ERA in the American League (3.75), but they're 12th in runs scored (276) and second to last in team batting average (.239).
Why? Because they have a bunch of stars on the disabled list and are relying on guys like Hafner and Wells -- once very productive major league players but on the decline for some time.
Remember, Hafner batted just .228 for the Indians last season, and Wells hit just .230 for the Angels.
So, should we really be surprised?
The Yankees’ pregame notes Thursday touted the team’s 22-0 record when scoring five or more runs this season. That's the best record in the major leagues.
But they've now had more than twice as many games -- 50 -- in which they've scored four runs or fewer, and they're just 17-33 in those games.