You can say that it is still early and ten games into the season does not make or break a long baseball campaign. But in the Bronx again Saturday afternoon the Yankees once again left 12 more runners on base had their opportunities but failed to capitalize in losing their fourth straight game and second consecutive to the Seattle Mariners 3-2.
Almost two weeks into the long season and 26 left on base in two games does not say the Yankees will fail to play baseball in October. However manager Joe Girardi and his team need to have a cause for concern. With the exception of Carlos Beltran with a 4-for-5 day, that included two doubles and a home run, responsible for knocking in the two Yankees runs, that was it.
Except there were opportunities to score and there should be a cause for concern before the series finale with Seattle Sunday afternoon.
“It happens.. we go through cycles,” Girardi said about his lineup that has stranded 26 on base in the last two games. Friday night in the Bronx the Yankees could not come from behind and missed opportunities by leaving 14 on base.
Saturday, with Seattle ace Felix Hernandez on the mound, the Yankees had their chances but missed again. Overall they had 11 base runners, six via the walk. And in the ninth Chase Headley had a golden opportunity to be a hero to tie or win the game. But he grounded out to end the game with Carlos Beltran on third and Starlin Castro at second.
Said Headley about coming up short, “It’s a long season. You do your best to not put pressure on yourself.”
Yeah, but the Yankees are doing their best to put that pressure on themselves by not getting the production from a lineup that they say can score. In three of their first five games they scored a combined 32 runs. The last four games 10-runs have come across the plate and that does not count the many amount that could have scored but didn’t because of missed opportunities.
“Right now it’s not working for us,” Beltran said. He is the only one hitting the ball well was the first Yankee with four hits, three that went for extra bases since Brett Gardner did that for Texas back in July of 2014.
And it is the consistent failure of Alex Rodriguez that is a part of this struggle and missed opportunities. However, A-Rod has had lots of company and batting third there has been limited opportunity to do something productive because Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner at the top are not getting on base.
Though Ellsbury drew two walks and Gardner got two hits off Hernandez and stranded. Rodriguez was inserted in the lineup after sitting down the night before.In the third spot, A-Rod went 0-for-5 and struck out three times, hitless in his last 19 at bats and looks lost at the plate.
“I bet you can go back in history and see he has done this before,” Girardi said about Rodriguez. “Sure it’s happened in his lifetime. As a hitter you gotta go through it but you have to fight through it.”
About his struggles in the early going, Rodriguez commented, “No player in here should feel like they should try to put the team on their shoulders..”
The question is, when will A-Rod, or for that matter the Yankees win this fight? Right now the lineup looks like a mismatch in a championship fight, and it does not matter who is on the mound making them swing, miss, or just get a walk or two,
But when the Yankees get a free base, as they did numerous times again Saturday, they can’t get the runners to come across and produce a needed run or two. That also does not help a suspect pitching staff that came into the season with a reputation of being inconsistent and needing the offense to score some runs.
CC Sabathia was the latest victim of not getting the run support, He threw the ball well though giving up all Seattle runs in the fifth inning and took his first loss of the season, and if the opportunities came perhaps he would have went longer.
“He threw well enough for a win,” Girardi said.
As for Mark Teixeira, he got on base again with two walks but the other guys could not drive him home. That has been a recurring issue the past two games and in the last game of the series up in Toronto.
“I couldn’t get the big hit again,” Teixeira said. “ We got guys in the lineup who can drive in runs and we will… it’s been a tough couple of days .It’s not even two week in the season.”
He added about the Mariners, a team that takes their pitches and runs the bases well, “Give them credit. They got the hits when they needed to.” And in baseball that’s what it is all about, getting the hits when they are needed.
The Yankees know it’s early in the season. But if missed opportunities continue Sunday, and if the hits don’t come at the right time, should there be cause for concern with a lot more games to be played in April?