Derek Jeter is the calm one. He’s steady, largely defined by his ability to be in control no matter what the situation.
“I’ve been playing for a long time,” Jeter said. “What you try to do is you try take positives out of every game, even though at times it’s hard to. … I thought we hit a lot of balls hard. I understand you guys have stories to write and talk about, but for us, that’s the positives that we take. That’s all you can do. You have good at-bats. You hit the ball hard. You can’t control where it goes, you hope no one’s there to catch it, but at times it seems like there’s 20 people out there playing defense. It happens every year, it happens to every team. It doesn’t look good when you’re going through it, but you’ve got to have confidence that you’ll bounce back.”
But doesn’t this feel like the same thing happening over and over and over again?
“Depends on how you look at it,” Jeter said. “You can look at it as, ‘I just had a good at-bat. I hit a ball hard. Damn, they caught it.’ Or you can take the here-we-go-again approach. I’ve always taken the first one.”
Alex Rodriguez is the natural with a work ethic. He is considered one of the great players of his generation, but he’s also developed a reputation for his off-the-field approach.
“I know what I can do, and I feel great,” he said. “That’s the frustrating part. I feel like I’m taking really good swings. I’m seeing the ball well. I feel like I’m going to crush every time. Had a great session today with Kevin Long, tons of video work. If you ask me before the game, I feel like I’m going to go out and hit three rockets. One through nine we’re not swinging the bats well. You can shuffle it any way you want. Every time I go up there, I feel like I’m going to crush. And I haven’t been doing enough of that.”
Going 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position, do you focus more on the 0 or the 13? Do you see the opportunities themselves or the missed chances?
“You try building on 13 chances,” Rodriguez said. “We’re doing certain things right. We’re getting those opportunities, now we just have to finish, and become better closers. Opportunities are good though. … I’m going to continue to attack. This team’s going to continue to attack. That’s the way you get out of situations like this, is by being assertive, confident, keep working hard. I think overall the team will do that. But you can’t lay back. You can’t get passive. You’ve got to continue to attack.”
Joe Girardi is the patient manager preaching confidence, but today, even he decided it was time for a change, dropping Mark Teixeira to seventh in the order.
“You know I don’t like to lose,” he said. “Everyone in that room doesn’t like to lose. But it’s not from lack of effort. If I saw a lack of effort, that would upset me. But I’m not seeing that. I’m seeing guys do their work. I’m seeing them do their work on the field, off the field, paying attention. It’s just frustrating when it doesn’t go your way.”
Thirteen was the Yankees most hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position since July 6, 1990 when the team went 0-for-14 in 12 innings against the Twins. The Yankees have six hits in this past 72 at-bats with runners in scoring position. At what point does that become a trend that might not turn around?
“I don’t think I would ever get there, I don’t,” Girardi said. “I’ve seen these guys do it too many times and be successful, and put good at-bats. So in my heart I believe it’s going to change.”
• The Yankees have lost seven of their past nine games and fell to 21-21 for the season. They fell into a last-place tie with the Red Sox. “It does get a little frustrating, there’s no doubt about that,” Nick Swisher said. “More than anything, we just have to pull together, have faith in each other and know that we’re all capable of doing the job. The back of everybody’s baseball card looks pretty good. The start hasn’t’ been good for a lot of us, it’s been good for some of us, but we have to keep pushing. This team is a never-give-up type of team, so regardless of where we are right now, we’re going to keep fighting. I can promise you that.”
• The Yankees have lost all 10 games in which they have not hit a home run this season. According to Elias, that’s the longest such losing streak to start a season in franchise history.
• Last time the Yankees were shutout at home against the Royals was August 18, 1999. This was the Yankees most lopsided shutout loss of the season and their worst at home since a 6-0 loss to the Red Sox in May of 2011.
• Girardi said Hiroki Kuroda battled tonight, allowing 10 base runners and three runs through 5.1 innings. “I didn’t have all my stuff obviously,” Kuroda said. “But I tried to stay tough.”
• Kuroda was one out away from getting through a scoreless first inning when Billy Butler singled and Mike Moustakas homered. Kuroda wanted the pitch up and in. It stayed up and away. “I had to pay for it,” he said.
• Kuroda became the first Yankees starter since Andy Pettitte in 1999 to lose to the Royals twice in one season.
• Rodriguez’s double in the sixth inning was the 500th of his career. He also had a single in the game, a first-inning hit that moved Robinson Cano from first to third. It snapped an 0-for-16 stretch for Rodriguez with runners on base.
• Give Rodriguez credit for a great slide to go from second to third on a fly ball to left field in the sixth inning. I’m sure he’d rather be taking credit for a big hit with a runner in scoring position.
• Russell Martin had his first multi-hit game since May 5 in Kansas City. He’s hitting .412 against the Royals and .136 against every other team in baseball.
• Felipe Paulino became the second Royals pitcher since 1995 to beat the Yankees twice in the same season. “He’s been throwing well for them,” Jeter said. “He throws hard. He mixes it up. It seems like I’ve been saying the same thing about every pitcher we’ve seen the past couple of weeks.”
• Manny Banuelos has been placed on the Triple-A disabled list with a sore left elbow. He was on the DL earlier this season because of a back injury. Eduardo Nunez is also on the DL with a hurt right thumb.
• I guess we’ll give the final word to Rodriguez, although frankly, it seems like everyone is out of things to say about this situation: “I think we have a lot of baseball to play,” Rodriguez said. “Just take it one day at a time. Obviously there’s a lot of frustration in here. We know we’re capable of doing a lot more, and we will. But tomorrow would be a great day to start.”
Associated Press photo