Bases-loaded statistics can be nit-picky. Robinson Cano is 1-for-10 with the bases loaded this season, but he was 8-for-18 with three grand slams last year. When stats get too specific, they occasionally fall into a small sample size zone that keeps them from meaning much in the big picture. For the Yankees, though, the small picture matters right now. And right now they’re not producing with the bases loaded, a trend that’s part of their larger problem with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve run into a little bit of everything,” Joe Girardi said. “Some guys not swinging the bat very well with the bases loaded, (other) guys hitting the ball hard with the bases loaded and making outs. It’s unfortunate, but we’re still okay. Obviously we’d like to be in a little better position than we are right now, but we’re okay. We’ve just got to turn it around.”
The bases-loaded trend hurt the Yankees last night when Robinson Cano struck out twice with the bases full. A big hit in either of those situations could have changed the game significantly. The Yankees have had 53 at-bats with the bases loaded this season, the second-most in baseball. They’ve hit .151 in those situations, the second-worst in the American League.
The two biggest culprits have been Cano and Alex Rodriguez, who are a combined 2-for-19. Both hit at least .400 with the bases loaded last season.
“I’ve been getting myself out, pretty simple,” Rodriguez said. “Chasing borderline pitches. There are some pitches that are sort of sucker pitches, pitches that look like strikes but they’re not, or pitches that look like they’re decent pitches but they’re pitchers’ pitches. Those are the pitches that you have to lay off or kind of work the count in your favor, they either give into you or walk you.
“… I think overall our at-bats (with the bases loaded) haven’t been really quality. The one thing is, (pitchers are) the ones that have the pressure. You’ve got to swing at strikes and take your A swing. After that, you do exactly kind of what Swisher did last night, and if they make great plays then you tip your cap. But up to that point, we have to do what we do.”
• Brett Gardner did tee and toss today, and he’ll likely do the same tomorrow. He’ll need to take some live batting practice before getting into a game. Girardi said he’s not sure when Gardner will be ready to start a rehab assignment.
• Dave Robertson had a scheduled day off today. He’ll resume throwing tomorrow and should be on a mound Saturday. Still not sure when he’ll get into a game either, but the stiffness he initially felt when he started throwing again has gone away. Progressing as expected.
• Ivan Nova had some nagging lower-body issues — his foot, his hamstring — but Girardi said none of those have affected him in the past few days. There are no lingering health concerns with him heading into tonight’s start. “He’s been good,” Girardi said. “He hasn’t talked about it. He’s been healthy, so that’s a good sign. Your legs are so important to pitching.”
• Hard to say this is connected to last night’s strikeouts because he does it all the time, but Cano was out early to hit with Kevin Long today. “He just hit a home run to dead center a couple days ago,” Girardi said. “I don’t get too caught up. Guys like routine. They like to do some drills. When you’re on a long road trip, you have to come out early sometimes.”
• On this date, 17 years ago, Derek Jeter had his first career hit. He now has 3,158 in his career, the most in the big leagues in that span. Rodriguez is second with 2,805.
• CC Sabathia will be the Yankees representative at the MLB draft on Monday. The Yankees have the 30th overall selection.
• Jim Abbott is going to throw out the first pitch today.
Associated Press photos