Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
We'd say the Yankees limped out of the Stadium Wednesday evening after their latest sluggish loss, but an injury joke probably hits too close to home for a club that's playing both poorly and losing players seemingly daily.
Troy Tulowitzki is the latest casualty. He left the Yankees' 2-1 loss to the lowly Tigers in the second inning, nursing a Grade 1 left calf strain. Aaron Boone said he didn't have all the details on Tulo's condition, but reckoned the shortstop was heading for the Injured List.
Join the club.
Tulo would make 11 Yankees on the IL so far this season, a cavalcade of hurting stars that has helped doom the patched-together pinstripers to a 2-4 start. The Yankees lost series to two teams projected to be blah this year - Orioles and Tigers - and their vaunted, wounded lineup managed all of 20 runs in the six games.
Wednesday, the Yankees set a dubious club record by striking out 18 times, the most in team history for a nine-inning game. Detroit starter Matthew Boyd piled up a career-high 13 in just 6.1 innings.
"The baseball season is a long season and it's a grind and it can be tough at times," Yanks outfielder Brett Gardner said. "Obviously, we're going through a trying time right now."
In case you've forgotten the full extent of the Yankees medical cases, here's a refresher on who's on the injured list: Miguel Andujar, Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, Aaron Hicks, CC Sabathia, Dellin Betances, Jacoby Ellsbury, Didi Gregorius, Jordan Montgomery and Ben Heller.
Tulowitzki was the shortstop the Yankees acquired over the winter, banking on a full rebound from his extensive injury history. Heel surgery was supposed to ease any leg woes for the 34-year-old Tulo. He made it to Game 6.
Since Andujar, the third baseman, was lost to a shoulder injury earlier in the week, social media second-guessers have been carping about the Yankees passing on free agent infielder Manny Machado. Expect the volume to increase to a roar in that department now that the entire left side of the infield is down. Fair or unfair, that kind of noise sprouts from a poor Yankee start, especially in a season brimming with such high hopes.
Gleyber Torres will take over shortstop, his natural position, and Tyler Wade figures to play a lot of second base now. The Yankees are also calling up Thairo Estrada to take Tulo's spot on the roster.
Asked if he would perhaps say anything to his team, Boone replied, "No. I'm really confident in our guys. We talk all the time, so we'll pick ourselves up. The Major League season is a gauntlet filled with adverse situations, all the time. They come in many shapes and sizes, even in the best of seasons.
"We've hit some adversity here with some of the injuries we're dealing with, but I'll hang my hat on our group and know we'll fight our way through this and get on a roll."
Since Boone managed a 100-win team last year, it's easy to see why he'd exude optimism. But the non-injured guys aren't exactly playing up to playoff levels right now.
Catcher Gary Sanchez is still struggling defensively - he had his fourth throwing error of the season today - and second-half sensation Luke Voit has stumbled since a strong Opening Day. Voit was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts Wednesday. Torres and Mike Tauchman both fanned three times apiece.
In the three games against Detroit, the Yanks hit just .176 with a .255 on-base percentage and .275 slugging. Their best chance Wednesday probably came in the third inning, but a potential big inning was snuffed when Aaron Judge was hit on the foot by Torres' likely base hit for the final out.
Boone talked about how the hitters are getting anxious as the injuries pile up. Someone, anyone, has to do something to kickstart the offense. As a result, Yanks hitters aren't having the methodical at-bats that have helped them thrive.
"It's probably a little bit of the case of guys wanting it too bad and that can get you in trouble sometimes as a hitter," Boone said.
Later, he talked about Voit specifically, saying, "It comes down to control of the strike zone, which Luke has done a really good job of. The last couple of days, he's expanded the zone a little bit and, when that happens, you're going to get yourself in trouble."
That's where the Yankees find themselves now, just a week into the season. Sure, there's an easy fix in Baltimore, beginning Thursday afternoon when they try to wreck the Orioles' home opener and, perhaps, get a start on winning a series. Their pitchers have done well, too - the staff ERA is 2.50.
Overall, though, the Yanks are reeling now, whether you measure their status by healthy bodies or good baseball. Both are in short supply.