I mentioned to a friend yesterday the hardest part of my job is to have a positive outlook on every post, something that is honestly difficult to do when the Yankees lose. It’s next to impossible when they lose like they did today, however. And yet, I’ve got to magically find the sunny side of today without coming across as a Pollyanna. (And if you don’t get that reference, you had a seriously deprived childhood. Go to Amazon and fix that, but only after you read this.)
The Yankees aren’t hitting. Not very much, that is. And it’s starting to be a real problem and costing them games when the starters have a slightly off-day. Like Michael Pineda did tonight. Sometimes, Pineda reminds me of Sabathia in his pitching presentation — so often, it’s effortless and commanding, but on days that he makes it look like hard work, it’s tough to watch him even complete an inning.
Pineda threw 106 pitches through just 5 innings, giving up 5 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs, striking out just 3 Boston batters. Clearly, he had his moments, but he still struggled more than he should have in other parts of his outing. In the 2nd inning, with 2 outs already recorded, Pineda struggled for that 3rd out, giving up a single and double to put runners in scoring position. Which they did on another double to give the Red Sox a fairly early lead.
Chasen Shreve came on for the 6th inning to get 2 strike outs and walk a batter, and then give up a really nice RBI triple. Responsible for the runner on 3rd, Shreve turned over the mound to Kirby Yates, whose first batter singled home that runner to add another run for Boston.
Johnny Barbato took the mound in the 7th and promptly gave up a solo home run, a walk, and a single. A rather pointless (in my mind) review came in the middle of the next batter’s at-bat when a long ball was called a foul with the ball sailing clearly to the right of the Pesky Pole, the Red Sox thought it was a home run, but MLB HQ upheld the original call. That batter then reached on a fielding error which scored yet another run for the Red Sox, all before Barbato recorded his first out — a strikeout. It was onto Nick Goody to get out of this extended inning. But his first batter hit his second triple of the game (yes, the same guy as before), which scored the final 2 runs for the Red Sox before Goody got 2 strikeouts to end the run rally that was the 7th inning for the Red Sox.
Yankees offensive contribution: 5 hits and a walk. (Comparatively: the Yankee pitchers gave up 13 hits and 6 walks to Boston batters.)
It was pretty clear who was in control of tonight’s game, and they weren’t the guys in the away greys.
Final score: 8-0 Red Sox.
The positive spin: (ready for this?) The Yankees are NOT the worst team in baseball. They aren’t even the worst in the AL. Why yes, they are scraping the bottom of the AL East, but the Twins and Astros are at the bottom of their perspective divisions and have an even worse record than the Yankees. The worst team in baseball is the Braves with an even lower average than the Twins and Astros. Though to be fair, an upswing on any long series will switch things around in a heart beat. Because that’s what happens these first few weeks of the season. This isn’t September, when a handful of games truly make the difference between October baseball and October vacation.
So I’ll rely on the old cliche… it’s a really long season. And to paraphrase the Yankees greatest orator, they ain’t in a slump — they’re just not hitting. It will come. They seriously can’t lose every game. It’s a statistically impossibility.