This is one of those stats that you have to check three times because it doesn’t seem possible. But it’s true. The Yankees have been held to two or fewer runs 40 times this season.
That’s 32 percent of the games they’ve played.
The Yankees have had a lot of injuries. But that goes beyond injuries. The Washington Nationals, who barely have a pulse, have been held to two or fewer runs 47 times.
It’s easy to say, “Fire Kevin Long.” But that’s reactionary and silly. He was the hitting coach last season when the Yankees scored 968 runs, the most in baseball. Long didn’t spend the winter taking stupid pills.
The Yankees gave Long a three-year contract last winter because Joe Torre was begging him to come to Los Angeles. Even the most virulent of Torre haters would have to admit he knows a bit about selecting coaches.
If there were some easy answer, it would be a good story to write. But there’s not. Mix in a few underachievers (Cano, Cabrera, Jeter), the fact that nobody is having a career year (like A-Rod and Posada last season), the injuries and vastly different personality as manager and you have a bad mix.
Unfortunately, it’s only going to get worse. The Yankees are largely a team of well-paid, under-contract players. Once it becomes obvious to even the true believers that they’re not going to the postseason – and that could be by the end of the week – it could get ugly.
Keep in mind that 21 of the remaining 37 games are on the road and 19 are against teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
Hold on tight.