Karpin’s Korner: Yanks “Loaded” Lineup Needs To Cease Firing Blanks

Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

Don’t let that gritty win fool you, the Yankees still show more “red flags” than the Kremlin.

It was a desperately needed win, even at this early juncture of the season, but the deficiencies were still on full display. The Yankees had the bases loaded twice in the game, yet came away with only one run on Aaron Hicks’ double-play ball.

According to baseballreference.com, the Yankees are 4 for 15 with the bases loaded with 1 HR (Giancarlo Stanton slam) and 9 RBI’s. Of those 15 at-bats, they’ve hit into four double plays with the bases loaded (two of those came in Sunday’s game) and they have zero sacrifice flies. BTW: the Yankees have zero sacrifice flies for the season.

No one in the starting lineup is free of blame.

Even D.J. LeMahieu, who is the Yanks’ best hitter with runners in scoring position, is not immune. LeMahieu hit into one of the two rally killing double-plays with the bases loaded to continue a team-wide trend that continues to haunt them in the early going of this season. Second time this season that LeMahieu had a GIDP with the bases juiced. Unusual, to say the least.

LeMahieu will get it going (it would be a shock if he didn’t) but what about the rest of the lineup that is supposed to be “loaded.” The lineup profiles as one that features too much of the same ingredient, a right handed power hitter that is susceptible to strikeouts.

A lack of situational hitting has plagued the Yankees in the past four seasons. In part, that results from the lack of balance in the Yankees’ lineup. Throughout the championship history of the Yankees, there has always been a strong, left handed presence in their lineup.

Jay Bruce was added to provide some left hand presence but he has struggled mightily and I get the feeling, his inexperience at first base has transcended into offensive woes. He’s also been put in a position of being a primary player instead of a secondary one.

Luke Voit’s energy is missed, but he is also part of the same ingredient of right handed hitters. He’s a better defensive first-baseman than Bruce, but he’s no gold glover.

Too many hitters are letting quality pitches go by for strikes. You’ve seen a lot of 2-0 counts and then the hitter lets a very hittable pitch go by for a strike. Clint Frazier has done that a number of times and that’s why he’s in a 0 for 13 skid.

The 3-hole has become an issue because Aaron Hicks has not produced and doesn’t really belong in that spot. Hicks is killing too many rallies on his own. The Yankees have faith that Hicks will get it going but this is a guy whose lifetime average is .234. Yes, batting average does matter when a player’s production is measuring up to that low number.

I would flip Hicks and LeMahieu. It couldn’t hurt.

The defense has certainly not been up to snuff, led by shortstop Gleyber Torres, who is justifying the narrative that he can’t play the position. It doesn’t help that he makes throws to an inexperienced first-baseman, but that’s on the Yankees, not Bruce. Mitch Moreland, a left hand hitting, defensive first-baseman was out there and the Yankees never made a move. Moreland ended up in Oakland.

Someone once said, “You’re never as good as you look when you win, you’re never as bad as you look when you lose.”

This Yankee team is not as bad as it looked during their three game losing streak, but they’ve got an early season schedule that features many divisional games. You can’t win the division in April, but you can lose it if you play poorly in the early going.

When the starting pitching fails and the offense is dormant, it’s a bad look and the Yankees experienced that during the mild, three game losing streak.

The fans have seen this promising offense fail too many times before and that’s where their frustration comes from. Can the Yankees buck the trend of poor situational hitting. We won’t know until October.

When the Mets make up this suspended game against Miami in August, it won’t be a straight double header and both games won’t be seven innings.

August 31st, the Mets will host the Marlins in a split doubleheader. The first game at 1:10 pm will be the make up game, that will be picked up from where it left off. Top of the first, Miami had a man on first and one out and Jesus Aguilar at the plate with a 2-0 count. The nite cap at 7:10 pm will be seven innings. Rosters will likely change before then, so a few different players who weren’t there yesterday, could have an effect on those games.

I don’t know where the Mets were getting their weather info, but even the amateur weathermen and women in the press box had the correct forecast. Where was the window of opportunity?

The hottest team in baseball? The Boston Red Sox, who have won 6 in a row after being swept in their opening series at Fenway against the Orioles, whom they just swept three straight at Camden Yards. Boston sits atop the AL East while the rest of the division is 4-5. I know, it’s early.

Bosox were postponed in Minnesota earlier today.

Tune into Karpin’s Korner, Tuesday night at 7 PM on 365sportscast.com. My guests will be former major leaguer and YES Network Analyst Ken Singleton and NY Times National Baseball Writer and author of, “K, A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches.”

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