Obvious this is not the time of year for the New York Yankees to see their bats go quiet. A division race neck-and- neck with the Boston Red Sox in the early days of August and a long Wednesday in the Bronx was not pretty. Two straight games and this Yankees lineup was stopped by a Tigers pitching staff that is nothing to brag about.
This wasn’t Justin Verlander on the mound for Detroit. It was Anibal Sanchez the night before stopping a Yankees lineup with command. Jordan Zimmerman at times had Cy Young stuff Wednesday and the Yankees went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left eight on base.
The 2-0 shutout, second time this season the Yankees have gone scoreless in a game, does have a cause for concern. Zimmerman was removed after the seventh inning because of a long rain delay that extended over three hours. And it did not appear it would have made a difference because the Yankees all of a sudden have a concern with their lineup.
Third inning and down 1-0, Aaron Judge struck out and Gary Sanchez grounded out to end a threat with first and third and one out. Judge looks lost at the plate and all claims are that that a Home Run Derby swing has not contributed to getting two hits his last 19 at bats. The one hit was off Zimmerman in the sixth inning and it was not the Judgement Day swing seen often in the first half of his rookie season.
After that single by Judge, Gary Sanchez followed with a double. Didi Gregorius, the Yankees hottest hitter with Chase Headley popped up. Then it was up to Matt Holliday who did the same as his slump continues that also questions about his bat being a liability in the lineup.
Is there concern? Yes, at this juncture in the season with big games coming up on the road with the central division Cleveland Indians, three more at Toronto, and a showdown in the Bronx with those Red Sox that starts the next homestand and in the next 17 games it’s the Yankees facing the Red Sox six times.
So this is no time for the bats to go cold. Girardi hinted at shifting the lineup to get something going and that may include dropping Judge lower in the order. Holliday had another 0-for-4 day, and whether it be signs of declining or tiring, he may need to sit down and surrender his role as the DH with numbers of 11-for his last 77 since the all-star break.
“Right now, we’re not swinging the bats,” Girardi said. “It’s not just more than one guy and we’ve got to get it going.” He said the difference in the Tigers taking two of three in the Bronx was opportunities that went down the drain. There was no name calling but when asked Girardi said we have to get them going.
That means Judge, Sanchez, and of course Holliday. Those three were driving runs in this unexpected success for the Yankees and at the time Chase Headley was cold. Todd Frazier has really not made an impact at the plate since his acquisition and the rookie Clint Frazier has hit the contagious point of being inconsistent and sat down Wednesday.
Those two walk-off wins, attributed to the bat of Brett Gardner on this 6-3 homestand, well they were huge. Gardner has been getting on base and it appears that Jacoby Ellsbury with more playing time is finally seeing some good at bats. Gardner and Ellsbury combined went 3-for-8 at the top of the lineup.
They got on base and got in scoring position. But the rest of the lineup was dormant and that is more of a concern because the Yankees can’t depend on more pitching to overtake the Red Sox down this stretch. Sonny Gray does need run support in his debut Thursday night in Cleveland to show his value
“I think you’ve just got to find the ways to get situational hitting whether it’s hitting a ground ball or a sac fly,” Headley said. “As a group we haven’t done that well lately. Quite frankly that’s probably cost us at least a game maybe two games.”
Indeed it cost the Yankees the last two games because hitting is contagious And there is every reason for Girardi to have that concern because this is the wrong type of contagious hitting.