Reeling after a sweep at the hands of their AL East archrivals, the New York Yankees are searching for a way to get their struggling lineup going.
Following an off day, the Yankees try to recover from three straight home losses to the Boston Red Sox when they open a three-game set against the Athletics.
After adding Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield during the offseason, no one could have predicted that New York’s biggest shortcoming during the early going would be its offense. But that’s exactly the case, as the Yankees’ .217 batting average is by far the worst in the American League.
New York’s stunning inability to score runs led to the team being dominated by its chief division rival for a second time this season. The Yankees managed only four runs in the three games and lost 2-0 to Pedro Martinez in Sunday’s finale.
“It was a terrible weekend,” manager Joe Torre said. “I never envisioned our offense having these kinds of problems.”
Things got so bad for New York on Sunday at rainy and cold Yankee Stadium that captain Derek Jeter, hitless in a career-high 25 straight at-bats, was booed by the home fans for perhaps the first time in his career.
“The booing is directed at a lot of people, and it should be,” said Jeter, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Sunday. “We haven’t played well. It shows that people care.”
New York lost three of four in Boston from April 16-19 and has fallen 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox, the Yanks’ biggest AL East deficit since May 10, 2002. At 8-11, the Yankees are three games under .500 this late in the season for the first time since they had the same record on April 22, 1997.
While the Yankees have dropped four in a row, the A’s will also be trying to end a losing streak. Oakland fell 4-3 to Anaheim on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep by the Angels, the first time the A’s were swept at home since May 2002, a span of 49 series.
“This team we just played is the best in the AL,” Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez said. “I’m not making any excuses. They took it to us.”
Scott Hatteberg went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored for the Athletics, who also haven’t hit much in April. Oakland is batting .258 as a team, 10th in the AL.
After facing the 3-0 Hudson on Tuesday, the Yankees are scheduled to face a pair of the league’s premier left-handers in the final two games in Mulder (1-1, 2.77 ERA) and Zito (2-2, 6.26).