AL East

What will Turn Around First for the New York Yankees: Hitting or Pitching?

New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann loses the ball as Oakland Athletics' Chris Coghlan scores on a Josh Reddick single during the fourth inning of a baseball game in New York, Wednesday, April 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The excitement was high surrounding the New York Yankees after the first week of the MLB season. Things have quickly changed, as New York now finds themselves at the bottom of the American League East with a 5-8 record. The Yankees have only managed to win one game over their last seven, so things need to get turned around quickly.

New York’s starting rotation was expected to be the biggest issue coming into the season, and it has been anything but stellar to this point. None of the starters have earned more than one win on the year yet, and none of them have an ERA below 3.00. In fact Masahiro Tanaka is the only starting pitcher to have an ERA below 5.00.

A huge problem in the starting rotation, is the under-performance of the young, Luis Severino. Severino was one of New York’s highly touted pitching prospects, who came up last year and impressed with a 2.89 ERA in 11 outings. He’s gotten lit up in his two starts this season though, with an ERA just under 6.00.

Those statistics are absolutely terrifying if you’re a Yankee fan, but if you think 13 games into the season is too early to hit the panic button, you can live with it.

It’s nearly impossible to find a silver lining in the Yankees’ performances through the first few weeks of baseball. Although the pitching is getting rocked, the lineup has given them little to no run support. They have not been able to hit with runners in scoring position, and it has killed them to this point.

Over their awful past 8 games, the team has hit a combined .074 with runners in scoring position. Manager, Joe Girardi, discussed this issue following last night’s loss to the Oakland Athletics, “Right now, we are not scoring runs so everything looks bad.  You have to find a way to scratch out some runs and keep tacking some runs on”.

The lineup is a strong mix of veterans and upcoming players, so it’s difficult to find the overall source of the issue. It’s too early in the season for the veterans to be fatigued, and the young players should be over any big-league jitters they harbored coming into this season.

One of these veterans, and someone who certainly knows a thing or two about hitting, Alex Rodriguez, talked about simplifying their at-bats to find a solution, “We have to focus on doing the little things. Every at-bat is life or death. Got to relax, get a good pitch to hit and hit it”.

If New York wants to have a chance against the Oakland Athletics tonight, they will have to hit Rich Hill early and get Severino the run support he needs for a strong outing.

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