The Yankees are currently nursing a three-game losing streak, dropping two games against the lowly Oakland Athletics and the series opener to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.
In those three games, they’ve scored six runs in total but haven’t allowed their opponents to score more than four. Obviously, that indicates a severe lack of offensive production, and there are three primary reasons the team has failed to get going recently.
Three reasons the New York Yankees offense is struggling:
1.) DJ LeMahieu’s August production
One of the Yankees’ most efficient players is DJ LeMahieu, who’s been stellar since being acquired in 2019. DJ signed a long-term extension this past off-season and is hitting .271 with a 36.6% on-base rate this year, including 12 homers and 46 RBIs. He has a career-high 12.4% walk rate and a 13.4% strikeout rate, indicating stellar patience at the plate and good contact capabilities.
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However, his numbers have fallen off a cliff in the month of August. After dealing with a toe issue several days ago, the injury could still be impacting the star infielder. Over 88 at-bats in August, DJ is hitting .216 with a 27% on-base rate, including one homer and four RBIs. He’s only generated seven walks, striking out 16 times. It is clear that something is bothering LeMahieu, who’s played four consecutive games after taking three days off last week.
When DJ is playing well, the Yankees’ batting order is far more effective. Batting him lead-off has been one of the team’s strategies to get men on base before Aaron Judge is up to bat. With LeMahieu struggling, Judge has failed to hit anything other than solo homers. Against the Angels, DJ failed to get on base, and Judge smashed his 50th homer of the year immediately after in the 9th inning.
The Bombers truly can’t capitalize on Judge’s magisterial season unless the players around him are getting on base and giving him opportunities to put more runs on the board.
2.) Gleyber Torres is ICE cold
Aside from LeMahieu’s struggles, Gleyber Torres has also been ice cold in the month of August. He’s hitting .177 with a 20% on-base rate, including two homers and four RBIs. He has walked just three times over 96 at-bats.
There’s a strong argument to make that manager Aaron Boone should consider benching Torres, especially after his boneheaded error against the Angels on Monday, failing to step on second base and turn a double play.
If Torres can return to his July numbers, where he hit .292 with a 35% on-base rate, the Yankees can justify keeping him involved, but for now, there needs to be a serious conversation about how much more they can endure before they need to start decreasing his role.
3.) Anthony Rizzo can’t get on base
The month of August has seen three of the Yankees’ primary hitters go completely silent. Despite hitting 29 homers with 70 RBIs this season, Anthony Rizzo is also having a terrible month.
Over 75 at-bats, Rizzo was hitting .200 with a 27.7% on-base rate, four homers, and eight RBIs. He launched a solo shot against the Angels in the series opener, but he went nine consecutive games without hitting a long ball.
When your lead-off and three hitters are both struggling considerably, it is no wonder the team’s production has regressed. Add in Torres in the middle of the lineup, and you have a recipe for disaster.