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When the Yankees finally broke out of their April slump, fans took a deep sigh of relief because all seemed to be right in the world again. The Bombers were winning games and now they could start making their ascent to the top of the AL East.
Unfortunately, they find themselves right back in that void at the moment after losing four straight games and six of their last seven. And what began the losing streak was a series sweep by the Detroit Tigers on the road.
The Detroit Tigers. The last place in the AL Central…Detroit Tigers.
New York knew things were about to get tough with the Tampa Bay Rays coming to town, winners of 15 of their last 16 games. Make that 16 of their last 17 after a 3-1 victory on Memorial Day. After this series is finished, the Boston Red Sox come to town for their first meeting with the Yanks this season, and they currently sit at a healthy 32-21 on the year.
So is there anything the Yankees can change to fix themselves and get out of this rut? Once again, unfortunately for Yanks fans, it really isn’t that simple.
They just can’t hit.
In the last four games, New York hasn’t posted more than two runs. And when you look at their season sample size thus far, they currently rank 26th out of 30 teams in runs scored per game (3.74).
It also makes sense when you realize they’re hitting .229/.316/.371 as a team, and with runners in scoring position – a bugaboo for New York over the past few seasons now – they’re hitting .238.
A prime example of the Yankees’ lack of clutch hitting was the series opener in Detroit, where they went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position despite collecting 11 hits. The Yankees would follow that up with three hits the next day for a one-run output. And then, after totaling nine in the series finale on Sunday, they only collected two runs to the Tigers’ six on seven hits.
This was against a team with a total ERA of 4.32 and a 1.35 WHIP.
Luckily, the Yankees’ pitching staff has the third-best ERA in the league at 3.18 right now, so they’re making up for the lack of offense. But with a star-studded lineup that includes Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu and more, something has to give, right? The problem is no one – and I mean no one – can stay consistent right now.
You might have heard the old expression “ham and egg,” or basically someone picking up the slack when you’re faltering and vice versa. But it’s all ham, or all egg right now for New York. They either go together or not at all.
It seems they’ve fallen back into the not at all stage, with Stanton just coming back from injury, Gio Urshela and LeMahieu beginning to slump again and Luke Voit out with an oblique strain. The bottom of the order with Gary Sanchez, Clint Frazier and others hasn’t been able to do much of anything as well.
So, for those fans looking for quick, easy solutions, it’s probably not going to happen. Just like they did in April, Aaron Boone has to watch as his Yankees lineup works through their struggles together.
But the schedule couldn’t get any harder right now to do just that.