I suppose the Yankees deserve some credit for the manner in which they introduced themselves to Globe Life Field on Monday night, as they put on no airs.
Their offense sincerely, truly stinks.
Out of Baltimore, Aaron Boone’s bunch reverted to its standard identity as Major League Baseball’s highest-paid group of banjo hitters. They made Jordan Lyles look like Gerrit Cole, while Cole himself looked hung over from his prior gem. It all added up to a lackluster, 5-2 loss at the hands of the cellar-dwelling Rangers, a second straight defeat to cap a lousy day that also saw Giancarlo Stanton (strained left quad) go on the injured list and Zack Britton experience a setback in his recovery from left elbow surgery.
“Obviously a little frustrating especially when you’ve got Gerrit going and he has an uncharacteristic inning where they draw a crooked number on him, we weren’t able to go out and grab it back or really muster anything from there,” Boone said. “So [it was] frustrating, especially after a lot of good at-bats, a lot of hard contact in the first inning. We’ve got to keep pouring it on. We’ve got to keep grinding at-bats. We’ve got to get a little better in that regard.”
Lyles, the well-traveled veteran, entered the ballgame with a 6.63 ERA. He departed with a 5.93 thanks to six innings of one-run ball. As Boone referenced, the Yankees grabbed a 1-0 lead out of the gate, stringing together base hits by DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit and Gio Urshela around an Aaron Judge strikeout, and after Gary Sanchez ended the inning on a 96.9 mph bullet to Charlie Culberson for a 5-4-3 double play, as the Rangers put up a three-spot in the second, the visitors’ only remaining peep came on Voit’s solo blast, his first of the season, with two outs in the eighth inning.
“I think Lyles did a good job of keeping his breaking ball on the edges and down a little bit out of the zone, some tough pitches to hit, and getting ahead of guys,” Brett Gardner said. “He just kind of had his way with us. We weren’t able to get a whole lot going after that.”
The Yankees (22-19) now have scored 164 runs on the season, an average of exactly four per game, ranking them 13th in the American League entering West Coast action. If not for their pitchers largely reaching their collective ceiling, this season really could be getting away from them as opposed to merely stalling.
Gardner of all people showed some signs of life, yet typical of this Yankees season, others didn’t join the party. The triple came with two outs in the fourth inning, and Clint Frazier, the guy who broke out Sunday with a homer and single against the Orioles, struck out looking, which at least presented a pleasant contrast to the number of pitches out of the strike zone that the Yankees chased.
The Yankees arrived in the Lone Star State from Orioles Park at Camden Yards, their home away from home, where they scored 19 runs in three games without Stanton. So we know they have it in them. By gosh, though, they need to show it a lot more often in order to reach where they want to go. They should have sufficient able bats against a lesser pitching staff like Texas’, even without Stanton, his injured-list partner Aaron Hicks and the COVID-sidelined (asymptomatic) Gleyber Torres.
“Any time you have a guy or a couple guys go down, we’ve seen the last few years, it’s on me and a few other guys to pick up the slack and to step up,” Gardner said. “Guys like me and Clint that maybe haven’t had a great month and a half to start the season, with these guys down, it’s something that we talk about. It’s time for us to step up and help the team in a big way and we expect to do that.”
The longer this malaise persists, the more we’ll wonder if this is the real Yankees offense. If it is, the Yankees won’t be putting on any airs at all come October.