Alex Rodriguez had two hits last night, and it was the bunt single that seemed to grab everyone’s attention, but it was his next at-bat that really defined the game and the state of the Yankees lineup. With the bases loaded in the seventh, Rodriguez got a pitch to hit and popped it up.
“I had a situation to get us back in the game, we needed a big hit, and I couldn’t come through,” he said. “Beautiful pitch to hit. That’s exactly the pitch you want, right down the middle. Hanging slider. I should have done a lot better than popping up to the catcher. That’s the perfect pitch to hit and hit hard somewhere.”
No team can give up seven runs and expect to win, but a team like the Yankees can expect to put up more of a fight than it did last night. Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner (when he was healthy) have been getting on base, and Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher (when he was healthy) have been run producers, but the heart of the Yankees order has been a disappointment.
Rodriguez has four home runs, but he’s hitting just .256 with a .419 slugging percentage. Robinson Cano has been even worse at .255 and .372, and Mark Teixeira is hitting .233 with a .378 slugging. Cano has just four RBIs, one more than Chris Stewart.
“It’s strange to see,” Joe Girardi said. “Whenever you see Robbie struggle, it’s strange, whether it’s a two-week period in the middle of the season or whatever.”
The Yankees could have Gardner and Swisher back within a week — Gardner within a few days, possibly — but what this lineup really needs is better production from its middle-of-the-order sluggers. That would go a long way toward solving some of the offensive consistency issues that have been a problem so far.
“We’ve just got to get better,” Rodriguez said. “There’s no question in my mind that all three of us are going to get better. There’s no question. Robbie’s going to end up, when it’s all said and done, north of .300, 25-30 (home runs), and 100 RBI. He’s just too good, and I think Tex and I will also be very productive.”
Associated Press photo