Runners left on base were a thorn in the side for the 2018 New York Yankees. It’s also been an issue early on during 2019.
If a three-hour rain delay in the Bronx on Sunday didn’t get you hot and bothered than this surely will.
The New York Yankees left a total of 28 men on base in Sunday’s 7-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Twenty-eight. You heard that correctly. In an inconsistent showing by the offense, the Yanks lost their opening series to a team they struggled against last season.
Aside from their 13-9 record in the last two season against the O’s, they’re not the reoccurring problem, present in the first three games of 2019. It’s runners stranded on base while others are left by a thread in scoring position.
A season ago New York was woeful with RISP. They hit .253 while their division rivals, the Boston Red Sox sported a .289 average with men on second and third. In the rubber game of the set, they were 2-for-12. Clearly, there is a problem when Judge and Stanton aren’t picking up John Means change-up while runners sit on base.
In the two losses of opening series, the Yankees stranded 25 runners and went 5-for-21 with runners in scoring position.
It’s hard to panic when you’re just three games into your schedule. But to see a problem that hampered them all of last season come out as bright as the New York City’s skyline lights should make that clubhouse concerned.
Aaron Judge, not even 24 hours prior, mentioned the team’s need for a sense of urgency.
Aaron Judge: We've just got to have that mindset that our backs are against the walls every single game. pic.twitter.com/qeoffDm4TL
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) March 30, 2019
The difference between playoff ballclubs and World Series contenders are how they play against the bottom feeders in baseball and how they hit in certain situations. The Yankees were 23-14 against last-place teams last year. They lost their division by eight games to Boston, whose record against last-place teams was 32-5. Note the difference.
Judge doubled down on his comments after Sunday’s loss, via James Wagner of the New York Times.
“We had them on the ropes and weren’t able to get the job done,” Judge said, “Like I said, we’ve got to play like our backs are against the wall.”
While Judge isn’t trying to jump the gun, he understands missed opportunities against mediocre opponents and more importantly the need to drive runners in. Having a sense of urgency should mean situational hitting, something the Yankees lack, needs to be at the forefront of their concerns.
With Giancarlo Stanton joining the 10-day Injured List with a left biceps strain, New York is now without Aaron Hicks, Didi Gregorius, Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, Miguel Andujar, and Jordan Montgomery. Clint Frazier was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the time being. The current roster has big shoes to fill arguably missing their third, fifth, and sixth hitter.
The priority for this season is capitalizing on running scoring chances when they present themselves. Otherwise, playing down to the level of competition that we’ve witnessed from this team will be evident in time and time again. Teams that win championships do not leave any stone unturned and in doing so drive runners in.
After the first series, they own a .207 BA with RISP. This redundancy needs to change fast or the New York Yankees will find themselves looking up for most of the season.