The Bronx Bombers’ offense continues to make history this season, just not the kind Yankee fans have come to expect.
Scoring two runs in 18 innings has not been a problem for the 2013 Yankees. The team has already had two sets of consecutive games with either zero or one run scored, compared to no more than three such stretches in any season over the past 10 years. Not content with this mundane display of futility, the Bronx Bombers took their offensive struggles one step further yesterday by accomplishing the task in one game.
Note: Red portion of 2013 is pro rated.
To be fair, the Yankees 3-2 loss to the Athletics in 18 innings wasn’t really a team effort. On the contrary, all of the “credit” belongs to the middle of the order. The not quite Murderer’s Row of Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis, and Vernon Wells combined to go 0-28 in the extra inning marathon, giving the Athletics a no-hitter’s worth of outs from what used to be the most dangerous part of the Yankees’ batting order.
For their efforts, the Yankees’ 5 through 7 hitters were rewarded with a historic distinction. By each going at least 0-7, Hafner, Youkilis and Wells became the first pinstriped trio to combine for such futility in the same game. In addition, Hafner and Youkilis each posted a negative WPA worthy of ranking among the 20 worst rates in franchise history. With no men on base in front of him, Wells was spared a similar fate. Still, the black hole in the middle of the order was enough to give the Yankees their lowest recorded combined WPA.
Note: WPA data complete back to 1973 and mostly complete back to 1950.
The Yankees’ offensive struggles have been a season long concern, but it may have taken yesterday’s epic futility to crystallize the problem in the minds of the franchise’s hierarchy. Even though the team’s early success was predicated entirely upon pitching, owner Hal Steinbrenner’s and GM Brian Cashman’s initial comments seemed to suggest a certain feeling of “I told you so” vindication. If so, yesterday’s loss might serve as a wake up call. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Yankees will be able to make an immediate acquisition, although there are a few potential trade targets worth pursuing, but they can at least start laying the ground work. Of course, that assumes Steinbrenner and, to a lesser extent, Cashman are ready to admit their mistakes and make a commitment to correct them. If not, the mounting frustration among the fan base is likely to grow as quickly as the offense’s production has plummeted.