New York Yankees: 3 major takeaways from 2nd loss to the Jays

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber
Apr 3, 2021; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, the New York Yankees met up in Dunedin, Florida, with the Toronto Blue Jays in the rubber game of a 3 game set. The Yankees won the first game, and the Jays won the second game. This time the Yankees came out 2 runs short of a win. Watching the game, it was like deja vu all over again. The Yankees’ pitching wasn’t there, and the hitting wasn’t there, something that has plagued the Yankees for most of this season.

Yankee starter fails yet again

New York Yankee starting pitcher Corey Kluber took the mound yesterday without a win on the season. He left still without a win. In his first game, the Yankees managed a win against Toronto even though he only pitched four innings. The Yankees lost his second game when he went only 2.1 innings before having to be pulled after giving up three runs. Yesterday he was pulled after 4 innings and giving up three runs. His ERA is now 6.10.

The problem in Kluber’s starts is that he hasn’t nailed down his command. In three games, he has hit two batters and is on pace to hit twice as many batters this season as in any year of his career. He also doesn’t seem to be able to keep pitches down. When a pitcher throws too many pitches up in the zone, he will get hit. The bottom line is that he has to keep the runs down and go deeper into games. He has yet to go more than 4 innings in any game.

Aaron Judge hits two homers

Aaron Judge, after a somewhat slow start in finally getting his timing down. Yesterday he was zoned in hitting two homers in the game, one a monster shot. He now leads the team in home runs at 4. If he can stay healthy, he could hit over 40 home runs. The Yankees lost the game yesterday with a lineup that did not include DJ LeMahieu or Giancarlo Stanton. It is important to note that Judge has gotten those four home runs in only 39 at-bats. He did not play in two of the 12 Yankee games.

Yankee hitting still not up to par

Almost every sports news source talks about the lack of hitting from New York Yankee hitters so far this season. The stats are alarming. The heart of the lineup that is supposed to win games for the team is only hitting .145. Most of the hitting is coming from the back of the lineup. The Yankees are striking out more than walking and seem to have an inordinate ability to hit into double plays.

Last postseason the Yankees failed to get to a World Series appearance mostly due to lackluster situational hitting. It concerns that the lack of hitting has only gotten worse in this new season. Yesterday’s lineup combined for a batting average of .241, which generally isn’t going to win many games.

There are several hitting problems that the Yankees are suffering from, but there are two glaring ones; Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier. In case you have had your eyes closed, Hicks in the pivotal 3 spot in the lineup is batting only .179. If you haven’t noticed, Clint Frazier, the everyday left fielder, isn’t playing every day in favor of Brett Gardner, who is hitting better and defending better. Gardner is hitting .289 and Frazier only .200.

Another hitting problem lies at first base; the New York Yankees have no Luke Voit, recouping from knee surgery. Last season’s all of baseballs’ home run leader has been replaced by Jay Bruce, who is a total failure both hitting and in defense at first base. Bruce has the worst batting average on the team (.118).  Voit’s return from Meniscus surgery is expected to keep him out of the lineup for at least the next four weeks.