From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:
The Yankees just aren’t having fun on these late spring weekends.
The reason is simple — their offense (.228 team average), once the most feared in the major leagues for years, is disjointed, inconsistent, sleepy and listless most times.
The lineup is too right-handed and yet when they faced a pair of Tampa Bay soft-tossing left-handed starters last week, the Yankees produced a litany of hard-hit balls and sometimes lazy fly balls right to Rays’ defenders.
The only player producing on a regular basis is OF Aaron Judge (.295, 14 HRs, 32 RBIs), who is going to be the team’s All-Star representative next month along with reliever Aroldis Chapman.
After getting swept in three games by the second-division Detroit the previous weekend, New York dropped three straight to Boston — which had lost its last 11 series in the Bronx — this past weekend for the first time since 2011.
New York (31-29) completed a dreadful 2-5 homestand against Tampa Bay and Boston, the two teams above it in the AL East standings, to now find itself 6 1/2 games out of first place. The deficit would be larger if it wasn’t for Judge, who produces while seeing most of his companions in the batting order around him fail.
We look into the ugly numbers that transcend generations. Entering Sunday, the Yankees averaged 3.7 runs per game (worst since 1972) — last in the AL. The team batting average and average with runners in scoring position are the worst since 1968 and 1969, respectively.
While the team’s pitching staff is the AL’s runner-up in ERA, the Yankees lead the world in grounding into double plays and outs on the bases, disregarding pickoffs and caught stealings. The Yankees’ strikeout rate is 25% — on pace to be the franchise’s worst across 119 seasons.
It’s mind-boggling to see the Bronx Bombers, losers of 10 of their past 13 games, to be so unproductive. To make matters worse, the Red Sox now are resurrected under manager Alex Cora, whose team consistently shows fundamentals and resiliency.
Since returning from the IL, Giancarlo Stanton is 2-for-24 with 12 strikeouts. Gary Sanchez still can’t run the bases, Gleyber Torres is up-and-down at the plate and in the field, and steady contributor DJ LeMahieu’s batting average has plummeted 111 points from last season’s AL batting crown .364 mark.
The Yankees are passive when it comes to on-the-field changes and there’s no way they would fire manager Aaron Boone. But I think it’s time to dismiss hitting coach Marcus Thames because the players don’t listen to him.
Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org