The Yankees lost to the Houston Astros, 5-2, at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night. It was their second consecutive loss to the Astros and they are now 1-3 against Houston, who have a 54-73 record.
The Yankees are now 2-7 in their last nine games and a major reason for that is that they have not scored more than four runs in any of their last nine games. In fact, they have scored four runs twice in those nine games and have scored two or fewer runs four times.
In Wednesday night’s game, the Yankees actually out hit the Astros 10-9, but the Yankees only went 1-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners on base. Mark Teixeira was 0-4 and 0-2 with runners in scoring position. Martin Prado and Brian McCann were also 0-4.
There were plenty of opportunities for the home team to score runs. Teixeria had a 3-0 count with runners on first and second in the first inning but ended up striking out. McCann popped out to the shortstop with runners on second and third to end the first. Brett Gardner grounded out to the shortstop with runners on second and third to end the second.
In the fifth inning, Derek Jeter grounded out to third with Ichiro Suzuki on second with one out. Jacoby Ellsbury’s bunt single that scored Ichiro was the only hit that the Yankees had with runners in scoring position. The Yankees continued to be unsuccessful with runners in scoring position and two outs as Ellsbury struck out with runners on second and third to end the seventh inning.
“I don’t see them doing anything different than they are in their other at-bats, we are just not getting it done,” Joe Girardi said. “Sometimes it is a little bit foul, sometimes they just miss out, we are just not getting it done. These guys get better every day and it is just not happening.”
Michael Pineda had his second consecutive impressive start since coming off of the disabled list. In his first start, he allowed one run in five innings, and on Wednesday, he allowed two runs in six innings and deserved to get the win. He had three strikeouts and only gave up four hits in six innings. He was taken out of the game after throwing only 89 pitches, and Joe Girardi could have left him in longer since Dellin Betances and David Robertson were both not available.
Pineda said that coming out of the game after allowing a walk to Jason Castro in the seventh was out of his control. “I am feeling good, I had good energy, but I don’t have control for this situation,” Pineda said. “Today it was a pretty good slider.”
After David Huff gave up a single to Marwin Gonzalez, Esmil Rogers allowed three runs on four consecutive singles, including a two-run single to Robbie Grossman. Only two of those runs were charged to him as a result of Pineda’s walk and single that Huff allowed. The results in the seventh might have been different if Pineda was still pitching or if Shawn Kelley or Betances were pitching.
With their last two losses, the Yankees are now five games behind the Detroit Tigers for the second wild-card. After Thursday’s series finale, the Yankees will play three games at home against the Chicago White Sox, who are 59-68 and in fourth place in the AL Central. The Yankees need to win the last four games of the homestand in order to make up ground and have a chance of playing meaningful games down the stretch.
Thursday’s game will be a matinee at 1:05 p.m. Brandon McCarthy will look to allow two runs or fewer for his seventh time in eight starts with the team, but it is just as important that the offense finally score more than four runs.