When the Yankees lost 3-2 on Opening Day, Aaron Boone said he wasn’t worried. He said his team would hit. He has said it a lot since then. Brian Cashman has said it as well. The players have said it too.
The Yankees haven’t hit, at least not with any consistency. Through the team’s 48 games, they have scored four runs or less in 29 of them (60.4 percent). They have scored double-digit runs once. ONCE. The Yankees’ 28-20 record is solely a product of the team’s pitching
Aside from Aaron Judge, an unbelievable two weeks from Giancarlo Stanton and a few big hits from Gio Urshela, no one has hit. Sure, Gleyber Torres has been “hot” recently though that’s only after being an automatic out for nearly the first weeks of the season. Gary Sanchez hasn’t hit, and Kyle Higashioka started out well and then turned back into having the bat of a career backup catcher. Clint Frazier is currently 8-for-23, and all that did was get him up to a .183/.299/.330 line. Aaron Hicks didn’t hit before he got hurt, and Luke Voit was supposed to give the offense upon his return, but he’s hitting .182/.280/.250 with one extra-base hit in 50 plate appearances.
On Tuesday, the Yankees’ offense once again failed to show up, scoring two runs against the Blue Jays, while striking out 10 times in 6 2/3 innings against Steven Matz. Five days earlier, the Red Sox put 12 baserunners on against Matz in six innings, and he entered his start against the Yankees with a 4.69 ERA. That didn’t stop him from having the best start of his season at Yankee Stadium. Matz became the latest starter to have their best start of the season against the Yankees.
There was Michael Wacha (who was last good in 2018) on April 16. There was Matt Harvey (who was last good in 2015) on April 26. There was Joe Ross (who was last good in 2016) on May 9. There was Jordan Lyles (who was last good in … he’s never been good, owning a career 5.25 ERA in 1,017 1/3 innings) on May 18. And there was Matz on Tuesday night. Those are just the starters. That doesn’t include all of the barely-hanging-on-to-a-roster-spot-in-the-majors relievers that have stifled the Yankees with ease.
In Matz, the Yankees faced a left-handed starter, which is when they have the best chance to score runs given their nearly all-right-handed lineup, and they still were shut down. To make matters worse, with DJ LeMahieu (6-for-10 against Matz) unavailable for the birth of his child, Boone didn’t use Miguel Andujar (3-for-6 with two doubles and a home run off Matz), choosing to use Sanchez (1-for-12 against Matz) and play both Gardner and Odor, despite neither of them being able to make remotely average contact against left-handed pitchers. No, the Yankees haven’t hit, but their manager continues to not optimize his lineup and put his players in the best possible position to succeed.
I keep thinking Maybe tonight is the night the offense breaks out, and it hasn’t happened yet. Even when the offense does have a good game, and tricks me into thinking it was the turning point of the season, they follow it up with another stretch of scoring two runs consistently. It’s no longer early and it’s no longer a small sample size. The season is 30 percent complete, and the Yankees have scored as many runs as the Orioles and 59 less runs than the Rays.
I would rather the Yankees have better pitching than hitting since we have seen where having an overpowering regular-season offense and mediocre pitching has gotten them since 2004, but this team is supposed to have both. With the second month of the season nearly over, it’s getting hard to envision them ever having both. I don’t think they will. I hope I’m wrong. I want to be wrong, but I think the Yankees’ offense we have seen so far this season is what it will be all season.
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