The Yankees lost 3-1 to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. Their offense has now only scored three runs in the past three games. The Miami Marlins, who have scored the least amount of runs in baseball, have scored seven runs in their last three games.
The loss can be blamed on their non-existent clutch hitting in the first inning. It is rare that a team will have four hits in one inning while only scoring one run but that is exactly what the Yankees pulled off in the first. Robinson Cano hit a single that drove in Brett Gardner, but then Travis Hafner would strike out and Lyle Overbay and Eduardo Nunez recorded outs with the bases loaded.
The Yankees should have been able to score at least three runs in the first stanza. They can’t afford to waste opportunities when ducks are on the pond right now. From the second inning until the end of the game the offense only had a single from Gardner and a single from Chris Stewart.
The Yankees are hitting only .221 with the bases loaded this season, which is basically in line with the ineptitude that they showed tonight.
Raul Ibanez, who hit 19 homers last season for the Yankees and has 22 so far this season for the Mariners, should still be on the Yankees. The Yankees signed Travis Hafner in the off-season to 1 year/$2 million contract, but Ibanez signed a 1 year/$2.75 million contract with the Mariners.
Brian Cashman obviously should have decided to bring Ibanez back because he could have been the DH and played some outfield, and Ibanez has eight more homers and has driven in 14 more runs than Hafner. Travis Hafner has been part of the problem lately as he only had one hit in his last 14 at-bats.
CC Sabathia proved to be the workhorse that he has been so many times for the Yankees as he pitched a complete game while allowing three earned runs, allowing seven hits and recording seven strikeouts. Billy Butler, who hit a solo homer to deep left off of Sabathia in the seventh, now has four homers in his last six games against the Yankees.
It does not get much worse than the slump that the Yankees are in right now. The offensive ineptitude during the past three losses has ruined solid starts from Hiroki Kuroda and CC Sabathia.
Ivan Nova, who will be pitching for the Yankees on Wednesday, should pitch around Butler so that he doesn’t have a chance to drive in any more runs. After the momentum that the Yankees had coming into the series, having won six of their previous seven games, they now need to win the next two games against the Royals so salvage a split.
The Yankees need Ivan Nova to have a similar performance to the one he had on Friday, when he allowed two runs in a complete game win, and they need the offense to finally hit in the clutch like they did during the winning streak.
You can vote for David Robertson to get into the All-Star Game here. Voting ends at 4PM on Thursday. As of Tuesday, he was in second place behind Steve Delebar of the Toronto Blue Jays in the Final Vote competition. He was still in second place on Wednesday morning.
The Yankees won a very closely contested ALDS series against the Baltimore Orioles, 3-2, where the last four games were decided by a total of four runs. The hero of this past series was Raul Ibanez, since he hit two homers in game three including the game winner in extra innings. Ibanez also went 1-3 while adding another RBI in the 3-1 win.
Ibanez, who was the DH for the series clincher, should stay in that spot for the upcoming match-up with the Detroit Tigers, since he has proven that he can hit in the playoffs. Alex Rodriguez was benched for game five and should only start again if he is able to come through in a clutch situation while pinch hitting in game one. In six games against the Tigers this season hit hit .375 so Girardi should use his binder to see who he matches up best against.
There really is not that much of a drawback between Eric Chavez and Alex Rodriguez. Chavez is a reliable fielder, but is lacking offensively at this point like A-Rod. However in nine games this season against the Tigers pitching staff Chavez hit .516 with two homers. Based on those stats alone he deserves to start at third over A-Rod. Rodriguez should basically be the most expensive playoff pinch-hitter in MLB history until he can prove himself.
The starting pitching for the Yankees was reliable in this series, as no pitcher allowed more than three runs in the five game series, but the offense will need to step up in order to advance to the World Series. The Tigers’ ERA, 3.75, was the third lowest in the American League so the offensive underachievers for the Yankees such as Curtis Granderson (.158 and nine strikeouts), Nick Swisher (.111) and Robinson Cano (.091) will need to revert to their regular season form.
Granderson had 43 homers in the regular season, while Cano and Swisher had 33 and 24, respectively. They will need to display some of that power in this upcoming series as well as hit for a decent average. Detroit’s top four starters, Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Anibal Sanchez have a more successful track record than those of the Orioles so it is even more important that the Yankees offense picks up the slack.
The Yankees are evenly matched wit the Tigers, if both teams perform to their ability, but an advantage that the Yankees have is that I see Cano and Granderson raising their level of play. Overally, Cano is the best hitter all-around hitter on the team, excluding Jeter’s always reliable postseason production, and Granderson closed the series on a positive note with a homer and will have extra motivation facing his former team.
I see this series going seven games with the Yankees having the advantage because the have two playoff aces in CC Sebathia and Andy Pettitte while the one true playoff ace on the Tigers is Verlander. The Bronx Bombers also have the advantage when it comes to the bullpen because their top two of Rafael Soriano and David Robertson are much more reliable (and less emphatic) than Phil Coke/Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde.
The Yankees will have to shutdown sluggers Miguel Cabrera (44 homers) and Prince Fielder (30 homers), but they both struggled in the first round against the Oakland Athletics, and the Yankees can pitch around them when it makes sense. Above all, the Yankees will need Ichiro to continue to hit like he did in September, in addition to having Jeter, Teixeira and Ibanez repeat their performance against the O’s, while having Swisher, and especially Granderso and Cano produce like they are capable of.