When the Yankees scored tonight, they did it on a Robinson Cano double that scored Curtis Granderson from first base. Their next two at-bats were their first opportunities with a runner in scoring position.
Mark Teixeira struck out and Raul Ibanez grounded to second.
That’s how it began; another night of the same old story. The Yankees went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and they’ve gone 3-for-41 in their past five games. No surprise that four of them have been losses.
“I just think it’s going to happen,” Joe Girardi said. “I think, ‘This is the time it’s going to happen. This is the one hit we’re going to get.'”
That hit never came tonight, and when the Yankees didn’t get a runner on base in any of the final three innings, their scoring opportunities had come and gone.
Three of those RISP at-bats belonged to Teixeira, who for the first time sounded like he might see some sense in taking a day off to try to get over this cough that had him hacking on the field tonight. He flied out to leave runners at first and second in the third inning, then he flied to shallow left to do the same thing in the fifth.
“If you could guarantee me that (taking a day off) would make me feel better, I’d love that guarantee,” Teixeira said. “I just don’t know if it’s going to help, so we’ll see. I’ll probably talk to Joe a little bit and we’ll see if maybe it makes sense. I want to be out there for my team. I’ve been swinging the bat good the last few days, which is good. You never want get out of the lineup if you’re swinging it good, and defensively, I can always contribute. You never know if it’s going to help or not.”
It’s been hard to notice, but despite the cough, Teixeira came into this game hitting .348/.400/.565 in his past six games. He’s been taking a lot of the heat for the Yankees struggles, but he’s actually been hitting pretty well during this slide.
“Tex seems to be the focus today,” Girardi said. “We have a lot of guys who are hitting around .200 with guys in scoring position, just not Tex. As a team, we’re not collectively getting it done, and we need to get better.”
• Phil Hughes had only one pitch really working today. It was his fastball, and that’s why he threw so many of them, especially early in the game. He still went 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while continuously pitching out of jams. “Sometimes you can learn more about a guy when he doesn’t have his good stuff than when he does,” Girardi said. “How he can still go out there and compete, and that’s what he did today.”
• In the third inning, Hughes fell behind 3-0 to Jose Bautista, then drew the count even. He’d thrown Bautista a ton of fastballs — six in the first inning, and four of his past five pitches in this at-bat — so he decided to throw a cutter. That’s the pitch Bautista hit for a two-run homer. “I felt like he had seen a lot of fastballs, and that would be a good pitch,” Hughes said. “But it was spinning over the plate, wasn’t down and away where I would have liked to have it. Looking back, that was the costly mistake. … I threw a 3-2 curveball his third at-bat that I got a strikeout on, so maybe that would have been the better sequence. Hindsight.”
• Hughes has pitched into the sixth inning in four straight starts, something he did only once in his first four starts. This month he’s cut his ERA from 7.88 to 5.23. His ERA in four May starts 3.55.
• Girardi on the idea of giving Teixeira a day off: “We’ve talked about it, and I’ll continue to discuss it with him and we’ll see what happens.”
• Brett Gardner is supposed to start swinging this weekend. He would bring a different kind of look to this offense that is right now almost entirely built around power hitters with no speed.
• Derek Jeter is now tied with Michael Bourn for the Major League lead in hits with 57. Jeter had a single today.
• The Yankees have lost eight of their past 12 games in Toronto dating back to 2010.
• Francisco Cervelli apparently told a Venezuelan reporter that he’s heard two teams are interested in trading for him but the Yankees don’t want to lose him. Makes sense considering the Yankees went out of their way this spring specifically to build catching depth with Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Craig Tatum.
• Jeter: “I’m pretty sure if you go back to most years, I’m pretty sure we’ve had this conversation before. Sometimes success is contagious, sometimes failure is contagious. To where a lot of guys get hot at one point, or a lot of guys struggle. I wish I had an answer to it, if I did I would never struggle myself. I’d tell a few people, and they’d never struggle. It’s just the game.”
• Teixeira: “We expect to score six or seven runs every game; that’s just the way our team is. The one thing about our team is we never give up. We’ve been through tough stretches before and we always fight. We always battle, always try to put together good at-bats and good games. These last few games, it just hasn’t happened for us.”
• Girardi: “Sometimes it’s a break that you get that kind of leads to the flood gates opening up. We just haven’t done it. As you said, 3-for-41 in the last five days. Offenses are going to go through that, every offense is going to go through that, but I gotta tell you, it’s no fun when you’re going through it. The guys don’t look like they’re having a lot of fun, but they’re doing their work, and they’re preparing and it’ll change.”
Associated Press photos