The Yankees lost the opening game of the series against the Kansas City Royals, 5-1. They had a chance to score at least a few runs in the ninth inning, but after having the bases loaded with nobody out, Brett Gardner and Zoilo Almonte struck out to end the game.
The game was delayed by 59 minutes in the fourth inning. Before the official rain delay the grounds crew decided to try and fix the home plate area but then they had trouble getting the tarp on the field. Adam Warren pitched well in relief of Phil Hughes, who did not come back after the delay partly because he had to sit for much longer than Jeremy Guthrie, but the Yankees will not win many games when they score only one run.
The offense was able to put nine hits together but 10 runners were left on base and hitters left runners in scoring position with two outs four different times.
Hughes would have had a solid outing if he would have limited the Royals scoring in the second to Billy Butler’s solo home run. However, as is often the case, he was not able to bounce back as David Lough hit an RBI double later in the inning.
Brett Gardner, who only has one hit in his last 21 at-bats, set a new Yankee record after striking out in the ninth inning. He has now struck out in 16 consecutive games. He needs to turn it around because before this cold spell he was one of the most consistent hitters on the team.
The Yankees offense is now struggling once again as they have only scored two runs in their last two games (both losses). This can partly be blamed on not starting Lyle Overbay, Ichiro Suzuki or Eduardo Nunez. Overbay did not start the game because the Yankees had just signed Travis Ishikawa to give him a break and Joe Girardi didn’t want Nunez starting three games in a row coming off of the disabled list.
Robinson Cano has also cooled off after a previous hot streak. He will start the All-Star Game for the American League, but Cano has gone 3-16 in the last five games. However, he was due for a letdown (as well as Gardner) because in the five previous games he was 11-19 (.578), with four homers and nine runs batted in.
It was surprising that Ishikawa was booed by the fans after his second strike out in as many at-bats in the fifth inning. New players will usually have a few games to prove their worth before the fans start to boo them.
The Yankees only had four base-runners against Jeremy Guthrie in 6.2 innings. He was able to regain the pitching form that he showed before the long rain delay as the Yankees did not score until Overbay’s solo homer in the seventh. On the pitching side for the Yankees, Preston Claiborne had his second consecutive sub-par performance. After allowing only one earned one in his first 15 appearances, he has now allowed four earned runs in his last two.
The Yankees are now 14-4 against American League Central opponents this season and will hope to make it 15-4 after Tuesday night’s game. Before the All-Star break, the Yankees have six consecutive contests against AL Central teams, so they need to take advantage of the Royals and Twins in order to make up ground in the division.
You can vote for David Robertson to get into the All-Star Game here. Voting ends at 4PM on Thursday.