As we move into phase two of the New York Yankees’ struggling, the anger from fans will go from the actual players to anything possible. No, the Yankees didn’t lose 1-0 in 10 innings to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday because of Joe Girardi managing from the dugout, or because Andrew Miller entered in the middle of an inning, or anything else except for the fact the Yankees can’t win a game scoring zero runs no matter how many times they want to test the theory.
We saw a flat out dominant Masahiro Tanaka last night. Eight shutout innings later, Tanaka was every bit the ace we’ve seen flashes of over the past couple of years. We saw 21 consecutive shutout innings from Yankees’ pitchers before the Orioles walked off with a win. CC Sabathia has been better than expected all season, Tanaka has been dominant, Nathan Eovaldi recently threw a seven shutout inning gem and Michael Pineda and Luis Severino are showing at least signs of improvement.
Dellin Betances gave up a long fly ball and it has people worried his little hiccups in Boston were a sign of his demise. Especially with Aroldis Chapman due back in a few days let’s say it all as loud as we can.
Pitching is not the problem.
The problem began with, continues with and will end with the offense. Not Girardi, not Larry Rothschild, not Hank or Hal Steinbrenner, not the schedule, not the rotation and not the bullpen.
It’s the offense.
It’s an offense which has averaged 3.4 runs per game since the start of the year. That’s worse than the Rays, the Twins, the Royals, the Astros and the Phillies. Only the Atlanta Braves have scored less runs and not so coincidentally, have a worse record. It’s an offense that has scored more than four runs in a game just three times since April 7th, when it just finished doing that twice in the first three games of the year.
It’s an offense that has scored two runs or less more often than it has scored three runs or more, in 14 of the first 26 games. If your expectations of nine innings of pitching is a team ERA of 1.99, raise your hand. If it’s not, than blame nothing else except the offense.
It doesn’t matter that Tanaka was pulled at 102 pitches through eight innings (his high for the year). It doesn’t matter that Betances only went one inning and was bailed out by a fantastic, and in any other year, momentum changing, catch in right field. And it doesn’t matter that Johnny Barbato started the 10th, only to be relied by Andrew Miller with runners in the corners and no outs, yielding a game ending sac fly to Pedro Alvarez, his first batter.
None of that matters because the team didn’t score for 10 innings. It had a runner on third with one out and it’s run producer up, and failed. It has a runner on second with two outs and it’s top five offensive catcher up, and failed. It had eight innings of virtually no threats whatsoever, and failed. It failed to hit a ball out of a homer friendly park and it failed to scrape across one measly run, even with an extra inning.
That’s your focus.
Most managers don’t put in their closer in tie games on the road and this game shouldn’t be managed like it’s a Game Seven. Why? Because the offense has routinely showed no chance of ending games. Girardi could have had Miller and Betances go three innings each last night, thrown caution into the wind for the three games with Boston this weekend and the Yankees still likely lose that game, 1-0, in the 15th inning, and every single fan watching knows it.
So stop blaming Girardi for when he decided the game was on the line and stop getting hung up on anything except the fact the team does not score runs.
It’s the only thing keeping this team from being a contender.