What Aaron Boone does and says as he tries to pull the Yankees out of the offensive slump
NEW YORK – The Yankees’ supposed greatest strength was their weakest link two weeks into the season.
Their slugger-filled offense was horrendous with slumpers up and down the roster, who entered a weekend streak against the Cleveland Guardians after a third shutout of the season, the last a Yankees clunker 3-0 in Detroit on Thursday afternoon.
Everyone except Anthony Rizzo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and DJ LeMahieu are guilty of not doing their part. Surprisingly, Aaron Judge had one homer and two RBIs in his first 13, one homer and two RBIs more than Joey Gallo and Kyle Higashioka. Josh Donaldson was hitting .193 with a homer and three RBIs, Giancarlo Stanton was homeless in his last 11 games.
As a club, the Yankees’ 39 points in their first 13 games was a franchise low since 1973.
What is manager Aaron Boone doing to try and find a quick fix? Well, he changed his lineup of 10 starters for nine places daily trying to find a mix or a look that starts a hot streak.
His roster for Friday’s game included center fielder on the bench Aaron Hicks, who was 0 for 4 with a runner in the corners, no out in the eighth inning of Thursday’s loss as the Yankees were down 1-0 . In addition, receiver Jose Trevino was started for the first time this season.
Boone’s message to his players?
“I think the most important thing is to stay consistent,” he said. “That’s the nature of every start to a season, especially when you don’t get the results you want. You’re not about to get off to a hot start, so you really need to be disciplined in the process to prepare for the game.
“Hitting is hard. I would say it’s as hard as anytime in the last few years. It’s hard. At the start of the season when you’re fighting for those results and you find yourself in these big situations, sometimes you can want that outcome a little too bad and it makes you grow a little bit, and that can be a dangerous position to be in when you’re a hitter and you start playing in the hands of other teams.
Boone thinks some of his hitters pressed. He thinks they also didn’t work as pitchers like they did in previous seasons.
“What I hope will be one of our strengths during the season is the ability to control the strike zone,” Boone added. “When you find yourself in these big situations, that’s when you really have to do it and fight the ‘I have to go get a shot here.
“You have to be ready to play. You must be ready. You must have a plan. And then when you go between the lines, you will play. The game is designed to have fun. Go there knowing you’re ready to go, knowing you’re ready, and don’t force a result because it’ll get you in trouble as a hitter.
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Randy Miller can be reached at [email protected].