Thursday, August 3, 2017


Be it ever so humble, there's no place like -- Cleveland?

Photo: Julie Jacobson / AP
If you were a Yankee late Wednesday, you couldn't pack fast enough to head west from the soggy confines of Yankee Stadium where a home stand had looked like it might turn their second half swoon around, but turned south all too fast.

Photo: Michael Noble, Jr. / AP
In losing three of their last four games and getting blanked in the series-losing finale by a Detroit team in full-on sell mode with the third worst record in the AL and second worst ERA, the Bombers painfully wasted a rare daylight glimpse of the old Masahiro Tanaka.

Of course, with  new rotation additions Sonny Gray and Jaime Garcia set to start the first two games of the road trip and a refreshed bullpen to back them up, pitching shouldn't be as acute a problem for the Yankees as it has been.

But the bats that just went 2-for-18 with RISP and 23rd in OPS in all MLB over the last month may be.

Photo: Getty Images
Like Joe Girardi said, according to the Record's John Rowe: "We’re not doing the job. It’s just not one guy. ...It’s not like we have a lot of hot hitters to move up (in the lineup). They’re going to have to fight their way out of it.”

Rowe went on to list the "worst offenders" as he puts it... and it isn't a short list nor a complete one by any means:

Todd Frazier 1-for-19

Jacoby Ellsbury 3-for-26

Aaron Judge 2-for-19

Tyler Wade 2-for-15

Clint Frazier 3-for-18

Matt Holliday 4-for-19

Photo: Getty Images
Fortunately for the Yankees, my second favorite all-time Andy, Indians super-reliever Andrew Miller  (1.67 ERA,78 K, 0.76 WHIP, 54 IP) is temporarily out of action with knee tendinitis, so that's one obstacle our snoozing sticks don't have to sweat.

More good news:  Another productive bat may be on the way back as Aaron Hicks  went 1-for-3 and played five innings in center field  Wednesday for the RailRiders in his first rehab game coming from a strained oblique.

Photo: Times Leader
And Greg Bird, who's been hitting off a tee daily for several days now with no discomfort, said he expects to be ready for rehab games in another a week or so.

It's wishful thinking to believe all the slumbering lumber in our lineup can suddenly recapture its burn-the-back-of-the-bubblegum-card fire from the first half.

But if ever there was a time and place for this offense to get its wake-up call, it better be starting a stretch of 15 of 20 games away from the Bronx at the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame against the World Series runner-ups.

This team is still built more for next season than this one, with some glaring placeholders filling in where players on the DL, still rising in the system or targeted for winter acquisition are expected to take over.

But Brian and Hal have done a remarkable job making it as armed and dangerous as .it can probably get within the rebuilding blueprint.

So the time has finally come to see if the offense can rise to the expectations and leave that rainy scoreless Bronx sky behind once and for all -- and raining runs and ruin upon Progressive Field for Sonny and Jaime as they play their first gigs in pinstripes would be a sweet way to announce their intentions.

The stretch run officially starts tonight, boys. Make Cleveland rock.

--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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