Yanks Offense in a Daze vs. A’s


It was the same old story for this Yankee team in the opener of their six-game road trip in Oakland. They got good pitching, but their offense continues to sputter, and the big bats remain silent.

The Yankees failed to capitalize against a team that had a team ERA of over 6.00 entering the game. The A’s may have the worst record in baseball (now 21-60), but they have shown the ability to be a pesky opponent (ask the Rays who lost 2 of 3 in Oakland a few weeks ago) as they were last night in beating the Yankees, 2-1.

The Yankees were 1 for 13 with runners on base, they were 0 for 5 with RISP and they struck out 11 times against a staff that ranked 13th in the league in that category. “We all gotta pull our weight and get it going a little more offensively,” Yankee Manager Aaron Boone said.

Down a run in the ninth, pinch hitter Gleyber Torres singled off of A’s lefty closer Sam Moll to lead off the inning. Josh Donaldson, who returned to the lineup after sitting out the series against Texas, struck out looking and Billy McKinney lined out to right for the second out.

Anthony Volpe, who had three of the Yankees seven hits, kept the game alive as he beat out an infield hit that sent Torres to second with two out, but Kyle Higashioka struck out to end a very frustrating evening for the visitors.

Starter and loser Jhony Brito was not at his best but he still gave the Yankees 5 2/3 innings of two run ball. “Thought Jhony was good again, Boone said. “Two runs there, into the sixth inning, he did his job. I thought he again acquitted himself really well and gave us a chance to win a ballgame.”

The 25-year old right hander was coming off a scoreless outing against Seattle, but he ran into trouble in the third inning against the bottom of the A’s order.

With one out, former Yankee Tyler Wade, who was batting eighth, tripled down the right field line and scored on a sharp single to left by the ninth place hitter, A’s centerfielder Esteury Ruiz.

After Ruiz stole second, Tony Kemp walked to put two runners on but Brito got Ryan Noda to fly out to left for the second out and then, for some strange reason, Ruiz tried to steal third with two out but he was gunned down by Jose Trevino to snuff out the rally.

Seth Brown led off the fourth inning with his sixth home run of the season off of Brito to make it 2-0. That proved to be a huge obstacle that the struggling Yankees’ offense could not overcome.

Donaldson, who has only hit home runs this season (a stat that is not as impressive as it may sound), clobbered a hanging slider from A’s starter Paul Blackburn and deposited it into the left center field seats for his 7th home run of the season that cut Oakland’s lead to 2-1 in the fifth. Donaldson has 9 hits on the season and 7 of those have left the yard. BTW: Yanks are 0-6 when Donaldson hits a home run.

Wade had an eventful inning in the sixth, but the Yankees could not capitalize. Harrison Bader led off with a grounder to short that seemed to take a funny hop. Wade had to reach for the ball and went to the ground, but he got up fast and fired the ball on one hop to first to just get Bader.

With one out, Rizzo walked and the A’s replaced Blackburn with reliever Lucas Erceg to face the struggling Stanton. The Yankee DH hit a bouncer to short that Wade first booted but recovered in time to flip to second to nail Rizzo for the second out. Jake Bauers struck out swinging to end another scoring opportunity, in what has become for the team a very predictable, come up empty, outcome of late.

Former Met Trevor May came on to pitch the eighth and got out of a two on, two out jam as he came back from a 3-0 deficit and got Stanton to ground out to third. Stanton is 1 for 11 with RISP since coming off the IL and is now 7 for 62 (.113) in June.

The Yankees fell to 11-14 in one run games and that’s not on the bullpen, which has been outstanding this season after another 2 1/3 scoreless innings. “You’re gonna have your upswings and downswings,” Boone said, “but knowing what we have going out there, I know what they’re capable of, so we gotta keep working to get ‘em to where we need to be ‘cause we know we’re capable of scoring a lot of runs.”

Volpe’s perfect stolen base record came to an end when he was thrown out stealing to end the seventh. The Yankees challenged the out call but to no avail as Volpe was thrown out trying to steal for the first time in his career (he was 15 for 15 before that), but the team is encouraged by what they’ve seen recently. “Anthony, a lot of good at bats. He’s been getting more hits but hitting the ball on the nose,” Boone said.

The Yankee manager tries to stay positive but even with Aaron Judge in the lineup, the Yankees have shown a tendency to go through these offensive dry spells. “We know we have a higher standard and expect more and know we’re gonna be better but we’re going through it right now a little bit,” Boone said. “Overall, this month we’ve had a few guys who’ve gone through some struggles, but I wouldn’t call it frustration, I’d call it get to work time.”

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