Yankees’ lack of hitting hindering hopes of season-changing surge

The patient still has a fever, and hasn’t left the infirmary.

Aaron Boone’s Yankees have a long recovery to a clean bill of health ahead of them.

They made the bed.

If they are who they still believe they are, if they are who they told us they were in the spring, they will get out of bed, and with a vengeance.

Completing a three-game sweep of the Mariners at T-Mobile Park on Thursday for their wounded collective psyche would have been just what Dr. Hal would have ordered.

Except these Yankees, 4-0 losers, are not in a place where you can expect them to sustain success, however fleeting it might be.

You hit them early, and they stay hit. Or they don’t hit.

And when the Mariners hit Jordan Montgomery early, with home runs in the first two innings by Kyle Seager and Dylan Moore (a hanging changeup), the Yankees served another reminder that they don’t know how to be Comeback Kids.

They know how to make their fan base weep:

Sweepless in Seattle — and 3-8 attempting to complete a sweep.

“I think it’s hard to sweep in this game,” DJ LeMahieu said. “It’s very hard.”

Brett Gardner reacts after striking out against the Mariners on Thursday.
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On a day when the Yankee hitters made 6-foot-6 rookie right-hander Logan Gilbert look like Jacob deGrom Lite, when Gilbert yielded only a Giancarlo Stanton double in the second inning and retired 18 Yankees in a row, Montgomery (nine strikeouts) could not afford a single mistake.

“Two mistakes, two homers,” Montgomery said.

If the meek shall inherit the Earth, the Yankees’ hitters stated their case to inherit the Earth against the fireballing Gilbert.

They were one-hit wonders.

Boone: “Certainly frustrating.”

LeMahieu: “Frustrating game for us.”

With Gerrit Cole ominously somewhat diminished by the crackdown on sticky stuff, and Corey Kluber and Luis Severino still on the shelf, Boone will need Montgomery to raise his game after the All-Star break.

Montgomery settled down to last into the seventh inning Thursday, throwing a much-needed lifeline to the bullpen and keeping the game within striking distance, but there are no medals for trying.

Steinbrenner’s Underachievers remain easy to identify:


Gleyber Torres: He has had some clutch moments, but more often than not he has looked lost at the plate. Remember his 38 home runs in 2019? He has hit six HRs in his last 464 at-bats. There were always going to be questions about his defense … questions that Didi Gregorius didn’t have to answer. Torres did manage to drive the ball Wednesday night and again in the second inning against Gilbert, but Marcus Thames hasn’t completely fixed him yet.

DJ LeMahieu: The even-keeled, stoic second baseman got his dander up after Kendall Graveman threw inside on Rougned Odor and then on him in the ninth and stared at him: “It looked suspicious.” The Machine has spoiled us. The six-year, $90 million contract he signed in the offseason was a well-deserved reward for leading MLB in hitting. Maybe as pitcher spin rates decline, LeMahieu will again prove that he is a Savage in Boone’s box. His Yankees numbers: .327/.375/.893; in 2019 and 364/.421/1.011 in 2020. He’s batting .270 with a .713 OPS in 2021. Maybe Graveman glared back at him when the game ended because he didn’t recognize him. “Not as consistent as I want to be,” LeMahieu said.

Gary Sanchez: Streaky as hell (.218), but 0-for-11 versus the Mariners. “He probably had our best at-bats overall today,” Boone said.

Clint Frazier: He’s on the injured list (vertigo), the latest tale of woe in a lost season for him. As much as the Yankees were practically begging him to own the left-field job, Frazier lost it to the defensively challenged Miguel Andujar. His slash line is .186/.317/.633. Down goes Frazier!


And, most recently:

Aroldis Chapman: For now, Chad Green is the closer. For now. It is imperative that Boone and pitching coach Matt Blake get Chapman right. Right now, they don’t trust him. After surrendering leads in three consecutive high-leverage appearances, who can? The guy is a basket case right now. Green has been a godsend, but he is not on the same level as a dominant Chapman.

At least there are a couple of promising signs. Aaron Judge (20 HRs) is feeling quite dangerous in the box. Luke Voit started the day on a 7-for-10 hot streak. Torres is getting the ball out of the infield. Jameson Taillon has pitched beyond the sixth inning in two of his last three starts, and lowered his ERA from 5.43 to 5.05. So there’s that.

But no Yankee and no Yankees fan should dare holler: Bring on the Astros!

“We need to try and win some ballgames to get ourselves in position going into the break to make a run,” Boone said.

For the Yankees now, it is one pitch at a time. One game at a time. One series at a time. It ain’t over ’til it’s over, right? Or something like that.