Yankees’ bats falling silent
So where has all the Yankees’ offense gone?
They began this trip with an 11-run, five-homer game, but in the next four games — all losses — the Yankees have mustered all of six runs. Their longest losing streak of the season has been the fault of a sputtering offense.
The first two games of this stretch they hit nothing but singles. In Thursday night’s finale at St. Petersburg, their only run came on a ninth-inning home run by Alex Rodriguez, who also scored their only run Friday night in a 12-1 shellacking by the Royals, who looked every bit the American League pennant winner they were in 2014.
The opener of the three-game series at Kansas City was actually a tight game until the sixth inning. It was a 2-1 game until KC sent 11 batters to the plate that frame and scored six runs. The Royals tacked on four more runs in the seventh to make it a blowout.
One start after tying David Cone’s franchise record for strikeouts by a right-handed pitcher in one game with 16, Michael Pineda punched out only one batter, and that was not until the 21st hitter he faced in the game. Ironically, it was KC center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who had a double, two singles and a sacrifice fly in his other at-bats for a five-RBI game.
Cain also made the defensive play of the night with a sprinting catch in right-center to rob Brian McCann of a potential extra-base for the second out of the sixth inning. It came between a single by Mark Teixeira and a double by Carlos Beltran, so it proved a huge rally killer.
Pineda lacked the hard slider that characterized his previous stint, and he threw far fewer changeups. He was charged with five runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings in sustained his first losing decision of the season.
This series portended to be a battle of the bullpens. Kansas City entered play with the lowest ERA among relief staffs with the Yankees ranked third. Clearly, the Royals won Round 1. They got 3 1/3 scoreless innings from two relievers in support of starter Chris Young.
Meanwhile, the Yankees’ pen surrendered seven earned runs and six hits in 2 2/3 innings.
The aggressive Royals made an abundance of contact all night. Only two batters struck out for the Royals, who bashed out 17 hits — seven of them for extra bases (five doubles, two triples). Joining Cain in the hit parade were Mike Moustakas with four hits (a triple, two doubles and a single) and Omar Infante with three hits (two singles and a triple).
Perhaps the Yankees would have been wise to take notes.