The Yankees lost the first game of the series in Arlington, Texas to the Rangers, 3-0, in which all three of their hits were singles. They have now scored two runs or less for the seventh time this month. After a great start to the season as the replacements did better than expected, the Yankees are now 22-29 in their last 51 games.
It does appear that offensive help is on the way as George King is reporting that the Yankees are close to trading for former Yankee Alfonso Soriano. Soriano, who played for the Yankees from 1999 until 2003, was actually traded for Alex Rodriguez after the 03′ season. He has lost a lot of the speed that he used to have, since he stole more than 18 bases in every season between 2001 and 2008, but he has 10 steals so far this season to go with 17 homers and 51 Runs Batted In.
The fact that Soriano is 37 is a drawback but the Yankees desperately need offense. He would be able to replace Travis Hafner at DH, or play left-field since Vernon Wells has also been struggling. Travis Hafner actually has the worst batting average of any player since May 1. He played well for the first month, where he hit six of his 12 homers and finished the month with a .310 average, but now his average has fallen all the way down to .210.
There is an excuse for the Yankees offense in this game since they were facing Yu Darvish, who has been one of the best pitchers in the American League this season. He allowed two hits in 6.1 innings and has a 2.86 ERA.
Lyle Overbay had another solid game for the Yankees and was the only offensive player who contributed. Overbay, who picked up two of the team’s three hits, has four multi-hit games in his last seven games. Robinson Cano, who was 0-4, had his 12-game hitting streak come to an end.
A missed call by an umpire led to the first run of the game for the Rangers in the first inning. Adrian Beltre hit a single to drive in Ian Kinsler, but Kinsler should have been called out on his steal attempt for the third out. Nelson Cruz, who hit a homer in the seventh off of Ivan Nova that was caught by the Yankees bullpen catcher, could be suspended in the coming days for his role with the Biogenesis clinic in Miami.
Ivan Nova pitched well enough to get his fifth win but instead got his third loss (his is now 4-3). Nova is the team’s second best pitcher right now behind Hiroki Kuroda as he has averaged eight innings in his last three starts and allowed an average of two runs.
Luis Cruz made an outstanding defensive play in the third inning to prevent what would have been a double. He ran far into the outfield near the foul line and made a basket style catch while extending himself to the fullest. He was down for a while but was able to stay in the game.
The Yankees played well on defense, highlighted by Chris Stewart and Cruz, but they need the offense to come up with more than just singles against Alexi Ogando (2.93 ERA) during Tuesday night’s game. The Yankees will also hope that Phil Hughes, who has been very erratic this season with a 4.57 ERA, can stick to his trend of pitching much better on the road than at home. He has a 3.38 ERA in away games but at Yankees Stadium it is an unacceptable 5.63.