The Yankees’ lineup has been hindered by injuries to its best hitters, and the second-tier players who needed to perform above expectations this season have fallen into some of their deepest ruts of the year.
New York misses the offensive threat Giancarlo Stanton brings and the surprise slug from veteran left-hander Matt Carpenter, but it’s also weakened by ongoing issues with Anthony Rizzo’s lower back and DJ LeMahieu’s right big toe. In their absence — or in the absence of their production — the team is supposed to be buoyed by Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Josh Donaldson, Aaron Hicks, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Andrew Benintendi and Jose Trevino.
Judge’s MVP-caliber season speaks for itself, but the lack of production from Torres, Donaldson and Hicks, in particular, is further minimizing their chances of winning each night.
“We’re all frustrated,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. “But we can’t let the frustration get in the way of preparing and getting ready to go every night. We’ve got a few guys who are in a rut. We’ve got to prepare and get ready and fight our way out of it. It’s part of it. It’s no fun when you’re going through it, but that’s where we are right now.”
Over a week of games entering Tuesday night’s loss, the Yankees boasted five players in the top-10 list of worst offensive production from qualified American League hitters, by weighted runs created plus. LeMahieu, who was trying to play through toe discomfort until sitting out games day to day, had one hit and six strikeouts in 19 plate appearances. Torres had two hits and four strikeouts in 25 plate appearances. Donaldson had two hits and 11 strikeouts in 25 plate appearances. Hicks had two hits and six strikeouts in 19 plate appearances. Rizzo had two hits and nine strikeouts in 20 plate appearances.
Torres, Donaldson and Rizzo were a combined 2-for-12 in Tuesday night’s game and LeMahieu again sat out while the Yankees discuss whether to put him on the injured list for the upcoming week.