Monday, April 5, 2021

And This Is What Happens When You Don't Hit

Three games into a season is too soon to panic over the Yankees.

But 3 games into the 12th season of a Pennant drought is not too soon to feel a sense of resignation that we've seen this movie before, and we can predict that its ending won't be good.

The Yankees began the finale of their opening series, at home to the Toronto Blue Jays, with Domingo German making his 1st regular-season appearance since September 18, 2019. Not since Daniel Joseph Staub last came to the plate for the Mets has a New York baseball player been this Rusty.

He went just 3 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits. Only 1 walk, though. After 3 innings and 68 pitches he was removed -- not for a pitch count, but for ineffectiveness. I have no problem with that decision.

Michael King pitched the rest of the way for the Yankees, and was fantastic: 6 innings, no runs, 1 hit, 1 walk. This is very encouraging, because I don't recall him ever pitching this well for the Yankees.

So, combined, Yankee pitchers allowed 3 runs. A performance like that deserves hitting support. Such support was not to be.

The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the 1st inning. Jay Bruce singled with 1 out in the 2nd, and was stranded. Brett Gardner and DJ LeMahieu singled with 1 out in the 3rd, and Aaron Judge grounded into an inning-ending double play. Bruce drew a walk with 2 out in the 4th, but was stranded.

In the 5th, the Yankees mounted a threat. Or, rather, Clint Frazier mounted a threat. He led off with a double, took 3rd on a long fly out by Gio Urshela, and scored on a groundout by Brett Gardner. LeMahieu walked. But Judge flew out.

Gleyber Torres doubled with 1 out in the 6th, but was stranded. The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the 7th -- against former Yankee David Phelps. Against a different pitcher, they went down 1-2-3 again in the 8th. Against yet another pitcher, they went down 1-2-3 again in the 9th.

Blue Jays 3, Yankees 1. WP: Ryan Borucki (1-0). SV: Julian Merryweather (2). LP: German (0-1).

We can't blame Giancarlo Stanton for this one: Aaron Boone gave him the day off. But Judge, Urshela, Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez were a combined 0-for-15. And no player got more than 1 hit.

I could credit the Blue Jays for good pitching, but that's no excuse. The Yankees should be able to hit anybody.

Tonight, the Yankees start a new home series, against the Baltimore Orioles. They'd better hit better than they did in this series against Toronto.

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