Runs are at a premium these days for the New York Yankees.
Even when they do manage to bring a runner home, it is not pretty. The offense that lost 8-3 last night against the Tampa Bay Rays looked just as anemic as it did when it lost 6-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers the night before. The Yankees had just six hits against the Rays. Five of them were singles, two of which were of the infield variety. The only extra-base hit was a ground-rule double from Lyle Overbay in the seventh inning.
As a result of this offensive ineptitude, the Bronx Bombers (definitely not the right moniker to represent their current performance) have now lost seven of their last nine games and have scored only 15 runs combined in those seven losses.
Last night was a perfect opportunity for the offense to wake from its slumber against the struggling Matt Moore, who had given up 19 runs in his last 12.1 innings pitched and lost his last three starts. To the Yankees, he obviously looked better.
They did score three runs off Moore in the fourth inning, but it was one of the tamest three-run innings you’ll ever see. The runs came off a wild pitch with the bases loaded, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI groundout — not exactly an offensive onslaught.
The hard truth is that the Yankees have been struggling all season to score runs. Their pitching is the reason they’re still even in contention. The Yankees have the fourth-best team ERA in the American League, but their offense is 20th in MLB in runs scored and 24th in team batting average (good for second-worst in the American League).
This is because they have a slew of stars on the disabled list (Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson just to name a few) and are relying on guys like Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay to play like the productive players that they used to be but aren’t anymore.
In addition, the Yankees let a combined 80 home runs from last year in Nick Swisher, Eric Chavez, Russell Martin, and Raúl Ibañez leave during free agency. Hafner hit .228 for the Indians last season while Wells hit .230 for the Angels, so we should not be surprised by their recent struggles to make up for the power that left.
The team has had 50 games now where they have scored four runs or fewer, going only 17-33 in those games. With the way the Yankees’ offense has not been stepping up to the plate these days, there could be more losses on the horizon.