The Yankees’ flop against Orioles is reminiscent of the failures of 2021

BALTIMORE – It’s like deja vu again.

The Yankees switched hitting coaches, brought in more contact batters, and now say they’re confident the tide will turn because… it will.

“I just think we’re better overall,” Aaron Boone said on Friday. “We want to be better than 2-for-11, but that wasn’t the problem. We couldn’t get enough of anything tonight.”

Eight games into the season, the Yankees still struggle with runners in goal position almost every night. They competed on Saturday after completing nine doubles games — the second most at the majors.

When asked about the returning trend after Friday night’s loss, when the Yankees went 2-on-11 with runners in goal position, Boone said, “That’s fair enough to say about the last year. We’ll be fine. … The bottom line is that one run won’t make it.”

They still haven’t conceded more than four runs since their opening-day win over Boston, when they joined the Red Sox for six runs over 11 innings.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa breaks his bat during the Yankees' 1-2, 11-inning loss to the Orioles.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa breaks his bat during the Yankees’ 1-2, 11-inning loss to the Orioles.
USA TODAY sports

With 25 runs scored in the season, the Yankees’ offense trailed behind every American League team except the Orioles and Royals.

The Yankees are also hitting more than last season (25.3-24.1 percent) and running less (8.4-10.2).

And on Friday, they scored in rally-killing doubles, scoring just seven hits and having 13 straight batters from Baltimore’s retired bullpen.

Additionally, one of the hitters who was actually productive early on – Anthony Rizzo – ran into an out when he was hit by a Giancarlo Stanton grounder while trying to reach third base in the 11th inning.

“[We] I probably just need that to break it up, to get it going,” Rizzo said Friday. “During that early start, we exchanged a few looks every night. I think once we capitalize on a couple it will be contagious.”

But it seems fair to wonder if there’s a connection between the problems the Yankees had scoring runs a year ago and their current problems.

“That’s 2022,” Rizzo said. “This is a week, eight games, into a whole new journey. We will experience ups and downs throughout the year. It’s just the ups and downs of the season.”

So far the ebb and flow have not been good. In the last three games before Saturday, they had struck a total of 32 times.

And the power on which the offense rests is absent from a significant portion of the lineup. Stanton, Josh Donaldson, Aaron Hicks, Kyle Higashioka and Joey Gallo have combined five extra base hits in eight games.

Gallo entered Saturday without an extra base hit or an RBI.

An AL scout who has watched the Yankees for three games this season said it’s too early to raise many red flags but understands the attention their lack of offense is receiving.

“They have some streaky hitters,” the scout said. “But Gallo hasn’t looked properly since he got there. I would expect most others to be fine, whether it’s Donaldson or Stanton. We’ve seen so little of Hiccup that it’s hard to predict. I understand why the narrative is there and if it doesn’t improve it could get ugly.” The Yankees’ flop against Orioles is reminiscent of the failures of 2021


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