There’s only one way to describe the Yankees 18-inning loss to the Oakland A’s Thursday, which completed a series sweep for the A’s, and that’s pathetic.
The Yankees couldn’t have asked for better pitching, giving up 2 runs through 17 innings and having 11-perfect frames. That’s the good part. What makes it so pathetic is the offense. The main culprits in this one were Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis, Vernon Wells, and Mark Teixeira who combined to go 0-28 with 12 strikeouts on the game. That just can’t happen.
Hafner may be the least valuable player in Major League Baseball. He can’t play the field, run, or hit against lefties. Lately, he hasn’t been able to hit anything or anyone. In the 11th inning of the game, the Yankees had the bases loaded with one out and a golden opportunity to take the lead. Up comes Hafner who typically looks at a called third strike. Youkilis followed suit with a whiff of his own.
Hafner’s days in pinstripes should be numbered. He’s been flat out awful since April, and he’s taking up a valuable spot on the roster. Hafner is 16/94 (.170) since the beginning of May. The Yankees would be wise to just get rid of him at this point. It’s been that bad.
New York had runners in scoring position in the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th innings stranding 11 base-runners in the process. It doesn’t get much worse than that. All the Yankees needed was one hit, that would have done the job, but even that has been too much to ask.
Since his hot start to the season, Kevin Youkilis has been dreadful. He’s 5/30 in the month of June and doesn’t have a prayer against a breaking ball. Vernon Wells has also fallen off a cliff. He’s 4/34 (.118) in June. Wells answered the critics in April, but now can’t hit a beach ball. Mark Teixiera has been hitting the ball well, but with no luck. In the last week, he’s hitting .154.
With the loss, the Yankees fell to 3rd place in the AL East behind the Orioles and the Red Sox. Joe Girardi can’t keep running these guys out there on a consistent basis, they are killing the team and creating a hole that might become too deep to climb out of. The Yankees have to make changes to the lineup, and should consider dipping down to Triple-A to bring up someone who can hit. Anytime Chris Stewart is leading the team in batting average, you know there’s a huge problem.
Thomas Neal has been the best hitter in Scranton. He’s hitting .339, and that’s all the Yankees should care about. They need someone, anyone, that can hit the ball. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Yankees offense has been so pathetic recently that it might be worth it to give some unproven guys a shot to show what they can do.
There was some good news for New York during the game, and that was Derek Jeter has been cleared to resume baseball activities. He’s still slated to return after the All-Star break, but the Yankees could really, really, really, use him now.