Long: “It’s probably not as bad as it looks”
We could throw a number of glaring statistics out there about how the Yankees aren’t getting the job done, but let’s stick to this basic one — they are 6-for-59 with runners in scoring position after today’s 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, and no matter how you want to slice it, that’s not doing anyone much good.
“As frustrated as everybody is,” Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long said, “it’s probably not as bad as it looks.”
There’s a lot of focus on Alex Rodriguez, who broke into a home run trot when he launched that deep eighth inning drive off Logan Ondrusek that even Joe Girardi thought was going to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. The wind knocked it down, and Long said he had no problem with Rodriguez’s approach in that at-bat, nor the first-pitch rips he took against Johnny Cueto in the third and sixth innings.
“Those are all fastballs, they’re all good pitches to hit, they’re all strikes,” Long said. “We talked about one thing, moving the ball to left-center field, because it looked like he was inside out a little bit. So he makes the adjustment, he crushes the ball, and he gets nothing to show for it.”
Raul Ibanez’s two-run homer off Cueto was their only successful hit in four RISP at-bats on Sunday. Yankees manager Joe Girardi seemed like he was out of answers as he met the media for the afternoon’s wrap-up.
“It’s strange to watch what we’ve watched the last week or so,” Girardi said. “You can probably go back even further than that. With these guys, the way they’re capable of swinging the bats and the runs that we’re scoring is kind of strange.”
Long said that he recalls having similar RISP-related conversations in 2009, and that’s likely. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the tenth straight year the Yankees have had at least an 0-for-20 string with RISP, so these trends do seem to come and go. And the Yankees can’t wait for this one to go away.
“There’s things happening now that we can overcome,” Long said. “We can’t say, ‘poor us.’ If anything, let’s fight against the world right now. Let’s go. That’s the message I want these players to have. I think that’s the best way to go about it.”