by Howie Karpin/The NY Extra/thenyextra.com
Don’t give me the exit velocity, the hard hit percentage, WAR or BABIP or whatever. You can’t sugarcoat the fact that this Yankee offense is overrated and unexciting.
Another example of that occurred last night at Fenway Park.
Ol’ friend Nathan Eovaldi dominated the predominantly right handed hitting lineup as the Red Sox beat the Yankees, 4-2 for their fifth straight win this season against their hated rivals. “We gotta continue to fight to make things happen and we gotta find a way to push through, against these clubs, especially these clubs in our division,” Yankee Manager Aaron Boone said on the post game zoom.
The numbers (not the analytical ones) that really count are abysmal.
The Yankees are third to last in runs scored (306) in the American League, just two better than the Baltimore Orioles who have 304 runs scored. Detroit is last in the American League with 301 runs scored. That little grouping should tell you all you need to know about the Yankees’ offense.
Yankees’ starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery had a few things to be concerned with after he took the mound, The Red Sox lineup for one, the Yankees lack of run support for another and bad luck. Five of the eight hits given up by the Yankee left hander were infield singles.
The Yankees had their chances in the final two innings.
In the 8th, D.J. LeMahieu hit a two out, solo home run to get the Yankees on the board. Aaron Judge drew a 10-pitch walk off Red Sox reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, who had relieved Eovaldi. Sawamura struggled to find the strike zone as he issued two more walks to Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo Stanton to load the bases. Ol’ friend Adam Ottavino was brought on and he got Luke Voit on a ground out to snuff out the rally.
In the ninth, the Yankees had two on and two out against Ottavino. LeMahieu singled in a run to cut the deficit to two, but Judge struck out on a 2-2 sinker to end the game.
The Yankees were 1 for 4 with RISP because they only got four runners as far as second base and they were 2 for 14 overall with men on base, as their struggles in those departments continued. The Yankees 5-9 hitters were 1 for 18 and that was a Gleyber Torres single in the ninth.
Of course, the rally killing GIDP reared it’s ugly head twice in this game. Judge hit into one in the first with a man on and Sanchez killed a two on, one out rally by grounding into a double play.
The Yankees are tied with the Houston Astros for the league lead in grounding into double plays with 74. That’s how some are downplaying the Yankees rally killing ability. However, Houston blows away the Yankees in two key categories. They have 745 hits and 441 runs scored compared to the Yankees 590 hits and 305 runs scored, which would indicate that the Astros hit into as many double plays as the Yankees because they get a helluva lot more men on base and cash in a helluva a lot more times.
Oh, the Yankees will have their games where the offense looks like it’s coming around, but will the lineup suddenly find the consistency that has been severely lacking in the first half of the season.
What’s even worse than the offensive malaise is the way teams are taking it to the Yankees with astute base running. A great example of that occurred in the second inning.
Boston had runners at first and third with one out. Bobby Dalbec lifted a foul fly to Voit at first who made the catch, but Rafael Devers tagged up from third and scored. Boston scoring a run on a foul pop in the infield is an appropriate metaphor for what’s gone on with this Yankee team this season. “I think he [Voit] had a little bit of a trouble getting a grip on it, then he kinda took a misstep on the grass and it was just too long to collect himself,” said Boone.
At 40-36, the Yankees are five games short of the midway point of the regular season so it’s no longer early. They currently stand six back of first place Tampa and 5 ½ behind the second place Red Sox. Against AL East teams, the Yankees are now 17-23 overall, but 5-13 against the two teams in front of them, the Rays and Red Sox.
Judge was asked why the Yankees are having trouble winning divisional games. “It’s the best division in baseball, that’s why,” Judge said on the post game zoom. “You know, we’re playing against the best and that’s who you want to play against, that’s who you want to compete against.”
The Yankees look to their ace, Gerrit Cole, to get them a much needed win later today.