Originally Posted by laguna96
Now back to Dan with sports.
Remember the good old days of, say, last year, when people worried about the Yankees hitting too many home runs and not enough singles?
Yeah, this team should have such problems.
Simply put, scoring runs hasnít been such an issue in the Bronx since the bad old days of the early í90s, when Buck Showalter was just beginning to change a culture of losing and fans were chanting derisively about George Steinbrenner.
Suffice to say the warm and fuzzy feeling everyone had for these gutty, gritty, replacement Yankees is wearing off fast. Actually, the fans never seemed to buy in anyway, judging by a signicant decline in TV ratings, so maybe they were ahead of the curve on this.
In any case, the lack of offense is becoming more alarming by the day, and so far the return of Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis hasnít provided any type of instant jolt.
After Sunday nightís rain-shortened 3-0 loss to the Red Sox, in fact, the Yankees have gone nine games without scoring more than four runs. No surprise, theyíve lost seven of those nine, averaging just over two runs per game during this stretch, as their record has fallen to 31-25.
OK, so every team slumps, but this is more than a cold snap. After 56 games, or more than one-third of the season, this team has scored 223 runs, a total that ranks 11th in the American League.
On this pace the Yankees would score fewer than 670 runs, a stunningly low total for a franchise that has often bludgeoned its way to division titles over the last couple of decades, beating up on mediocre pitching even in years when the team didnít hit nearly enough in the postseason.
In fact, the lowest total the Yankees scored in the last 18 years was 789 in 2008, the only season they havenít made the playoffs since 1993. You have to go back to 1992, when the Yankees scored 674 runs in Showalterís first year as manager, to find a team that compared to this one.
The Yankees are still hitting their share of home runs ó their total of 63 ranks sixth in the AL ó but power isnít carrying the offense as it has in recent years.
Obviously all of the injuries have played a major role in the lack of offense this season, and there is plenty of time to change the projections. If and when the likes of Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, and even Alex Rodriguez come back to join Teixeira and Youkilis, this team could still have plenty of thump.
But now you have to start wondering what the state of these Yankees will be by that time.
Can the pitching continue to keep them at or near the top of the AL East? Now that Vernon Wells has stopped hitting, Travis Hafner has cooled off and Lyle Overbay has taken a seat on the bench in favor of Teixeira, who is going to get the timely hits that allowed the Yankees to survive so nicely over the first quarter of the season?
Letís get real: Yankee fans would have signed up for being six games over.500 at this point in the season, considering all of the injuries, but the run differential of plus-15 tells you how small their margin of error has been ó also how crucial the bullpen has been to their record of 17-10 in games decided by two runs of fewer.
Suffice to say that this last week or so has changed the feel of the season rather dramatically.
Maybe thatís why it was so quiet at Yankee Stadium on Sunday night when the Red Sox got to Hiroki Kuroda for single runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings.
Yes, before the rains came the fans seemed to understand a 3-0 lead was quite a mountain for this offense to climb, especially with Sox righthander Clay Buchholz living up to his numbers this season ó now 8-0 with a 1.62 ERA.
It didnít help that Teixeira struck out twice, bringing his total of Kís to seven in his first nine at-bats since returning from his wrist injury and making his season debut on Friday night.
You had to expect some rust, of course, and Teixeira has only a single and a walk. Nevertheless, even that small sample canít help but raise concerns that the switch-hitting first baseman might get off to his typical slow start ó even if his season is beginning in June rather than April.
Likewise, Youkilis has returned from his month-long absence due to a back injury all too quietly ó 1-for-9 after a couple of routine ground-outs on Sunday night.
And so the narrative is changing quickly for the Yankees. Warm and fuzzy suddenly feels more like cold and panicky.