New York Yankees

The New York Yankees’ 5-2 loss yesterday against the Oakland Athletics exposed that New York’s offense is indeed pressing. 

By Christian Kouroupakis

Frustrating doesn’t quite cut it anymore. This has been “Bad News Bears, New York Yankees edition.”

Wednesday’s loss was a perfect imitation of 1976 classic as they ran the bases unwisely, made atrocious pitches in decisive situations, were incompetent to the point where they couldn’t catch the ball, and don’t even get me started on this offense.

Entering last night’s contest with the Oakland Athletics, it’s tough to say whether or not this offense was indeed pressing, but after the sad fight the lineup put up, it was evident that this funk is in their head.

“I don’t know, what is pressing?’’ manager Joe Girardi told North “The bottom line is we are not scoring runs. I don’t have any specific answers for you. We are not scoring runs and it is tough to win games when you are not scoring runs.’’

Baseball is unquestionably a game of streaks. One series you can score 27 runs and the next you could go 2-for-42 with runners in scoring position.

There’s good and then there’s bad but what ultimately decimates an offense is when the slump gets into their heads.

How can it not?

The Yankees are currently eighth in the American League with 111 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Yes, they rank 26th in all of baseball with a .189 batting average, but the opportunities they had them convinced that the bad fortune would turn around.

Losing six of seven and being 4-for-58 (.069) with runners in scoring position in that span is a frustrating funk to be in, but patience will help the average with RISP turn around. But what happens when the annoyance with the lack of success finds it’s way into a ballplayer’s head?

You get baserunning blunders, defensive missteps, and a team that tries to do too much.

A prime example of a player trying to do too much took place in the bottom of the seventh of last night’s contest when the Yankees were finally in business with runners on second and third with only one out.

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Aaron Hicks hit a chopper to third baseman Chris Coghlan and for some inexplicable reason, Didi Gregorius (who was on second) broke for third.

Coghlan tagged out Gregorius and threw across the diamond to complete the double play to end the inning. It not only undeniably killed any momentum the Yankees would have for the rest of the ballgame, but it infuriated his manager.

“It’s bad base running, you have to understand what your run means,’’ Girardi said in his postgame press conference. “You can’t run into an out and it turns into a double play. We don’t get any runs. It’s a bad read.’’

Another example of the team pressing? In the fourth inning, after Chase Headley booted a ground ball on a double play, the Yankees’ chance to record an out was to nab the lead runner at second.

Headley flipped to Gregorius who -idiotically thought about turning the impossible double play- couldn’t grab the toss and New York didn’t get a single out.

It was not only a stomach churning blunder, but it cost starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi a run, which is detrimental given the scarce number of runs the offense has been able to score.

Now, the Yankees have only played eight percent of the season, but the output that the Bronx “Bummers” have provided is an alarming start to the season. And that may be an understatement.

A trend of not hitting with runners in scoring position is something a team can live with over the course of a 162-game season. What a team can’t deal with is an evaporation of opportunities.NYY_300_250_v1

Working counts, making the plays you’re supposed to make, keep getting in the ideal position to score and let the funk work itself out is how this offense will break out.

Trying to make plays happen (and failing miserably), running into outs, getting thrown out, trying to force pitches, and swinging out of your shoes in an attempt to hit the ball out of the ballpark will drown this sinking this team.

Patience is a virtue, and although a funk like RISP can be mistaken for a lack of effort, at the end of the day you have to let it work itself out.

The Yankees cannot let it get in their heads but if there is anything constructive to take out of yesterday’s gloomy loss, it’s that the lack of success has made its way into the consciousness of the 2016 New York Yankees.

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