The New York Yankees struggled to produce with runners in scoring position last season. The same has held true through the first eight games of the 2022 campaign.
The Yankees will look to change the narrative on Saturday night when they play the second contest of their three-game series against the Orioles in Baltimore.
New York is 11-for-61 with runners in scoring position (.180) this season after going 2-for-11 in its 2-1 loss in 11 innings on Friday.
“Check back with us; we’ll be fine,” a defiant Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the team’s fourth loss in the last six games. “If we got a third hit, then it’s a great night. Bottom line is one run is not going to get it done. We have to do better than that. We have to get after it and put together some better ABs (on Saturday).”
Another troublesome issue for the Yankees is the recent performance of Aroldis Chapman.
Chapman struggled with his fastball and walked all three batters he faced in New York’s 3-0 win over Toronto on Thursday. On Friday, the fireballer went away from his fastball and walked in the game-winning run.
Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton recorded his second three-hit performance of the season on Friday, and DJ LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to four games.
“We’re all right,” LeMahieu said repeatedly when asked of the team’s offensive troubles.
When asked if last season’s issue with plating runners in scoring position is a concern for this year’s club, LeMahieu again took an optimistic stance.
“No worries there,” he said. “We’ve played well as an offense overall. I don’t think we’ve played to our capabilities yet, but we’re getting there.”
Give credit to the Orioles. Their bullpen tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings on Friday, striking out nine and allowing just one hit without walking a batter.
“We haven’t pitched like that a ton these past few years, and to watch our bullpen guys come in and put up zeros the way they have, the way they’ve been doing so far this year, it’s a lot of fun,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “And when we start swinging the bat, it’s going to be more fun.”
Like the Yankees, the Orioles struggled mightily with runners in scoring position on Friday, going 1-for-15.
Austin Hays had two hits and scored twice. Robinson Chirinos also had two hits for Baltimore, which mustered just six hits but took advantage of 10 walks in the series opener.
Yankees right-hander Jameson Taillon (0-1, 3.60 ERA) will look to keep the Orioles off the bases on Saturday.
Taillon, 30, was saddled with a hard-luck setback in his previous start. He allowed two runs on five hits with six strikeouts in five innings of a 3-0 loss to Toronto on Monday.
Taillon has yet to record a decision in two career starts vs. Baltimore. He owns a 3.27 ERA and 0.73 WHIP while permitting the Orioles to bat .179 against him in 11 innings.
Tyler Wells (0-1, 21.60) will look to atone for a tough outing when he takes the mound on Saturday.
Wells yielded four runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings in an 8-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
The 27-year-old posted an 0-1 record with a 4.70 ERA in six relief appearances (7 2/3 innings) against New York last season.
–Field Level Media