The Yankees (24-27) lost Tuesday night’s game in Toronto to the Blue Jays, 4-1, as CC Sabathia pitched well once again but the offense wasn’t able to score enough runs to get him his fourth win. Sabathia has been a huge success for the Yankees, as he has allowed two, zero, one and zero runs in each of his last four starts, but the struggling offense has prevented the team from going above .500.
The Yankees were 22-22 after their win on March 24, which was the last win of their six-game winning streak, but after that game the team has gone 2-5 in their last seven games. They scored four runs or less in six of those seven games. Proving their recent offensive ineptitude is that in their last three games combined they have only scored five runs.
In Tuesday’s loss, the Yankees were only 1-8 with runners in scoring position. The Yankees were much better in that category when they went 13-5 earlier in May. The middle of the order – Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and Starlin Castro – combined to only have one hit in 11 at-bats.
It is much harder to win games when the three, four and five batters in the lineup do not contribute offensively. The rest of the lineup had five hits but they did not do enough with runners in scoring position (RISP). The only hit with RISP came when Austin Romine, who has been much better on offense this season, had a infield single in the second to advance Chase Headley to third after he doubled.
An opportunity was wasted in the second inning since the Yankees had runners on second and third with no outs and only scored one run. Didi Gregorius would fly out to center, Aaron Hicks’s fielders choice scored Headley and then Jacoby Ellsbury’s fly ball was caught in foul territory to end the inning.
Castro, who is tied for second on the team with 21 RBIs, has really struggled at the plate recently. He had a solid .276 average on May 22 but now his average is all the way down to .245. Castro only has three hits in his last 33 at-bats. The only upside of only having three hits in 33 at-bats is that two of those have been homers.
The Yankees need him to improve at the plate and hit like he did earlier in the season. From the end of April to the beginning of May he had six multi-hit games in 10 games, which proves that he is capable of really heating up.
Mark Teixeira is not hitting at the plate right now just like Castro, but unlike Castro he hasn’t really helped the team on offense this season. Teixeira only has three hits in his last 34 at-bats going back to May 17 and has 13 strikeouts in that span. The highest that his average was in May was .225.
He has a very low .190 average this season and only has eight extra-base hits the whole season (three homers). Joe Girardi has said that he will leave Teixeira in the lineup. Teixeira will have to give the team more production because the No. 3 hitter in the lineup is relied on to hit homers and drive in runs. He only has 12 RBIs in 158 at-bats this season after having 79 RBIs and 31 homers in 392 at-bats last season (111 games).
Headley did nothing in April and really turned it around in May as he had a .150 average in April but his .298 average in May has pushed his average up to a more respectable .236. Teixeira, who is 36 years old and has a -0.4 Wins Above Replacement, will be looking to have a turnaround similar to the one that Headley had. Teixeira traditionally starts the season slowly, but usually picks it up in May after struggling in April.
If Castro can start to hit like he did earlier in the season and Teixeira can hit like he did during his productive 2015 season then the offense will get better. The Yankees have five more games of their 10-game road trip as they have one more in Toronto, a makeup game in Detroit and then three games in Baltimore. The Blue Jays (28-26), who have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games, are currently in third place and 1.5 games ahead of the Yankees.