CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Yanks expecting bats to come alive

Yankees expecting bats to come to life

The Yankees won a game last week playing National League-style small ball, bunting a runner to third base and setting the table for a bloop hit that pushed the go-ahead run across.

Having the ability to adapt to game situations is all well and good, but the Yankees would like to start putting some crooked numbers on the board with some regularity, especially after being outscored by the Rays, 19-7, in the first two games of this weekend's four-game wrap-around affair.

"We've had some guys throwing some good games," said Jason Giambi. "I know there are a lot of great veteran hitters here, but sometimes you've just got to tip your cap. The guys we've faced, we've put some runs on the board. It's just unfortunately not enough."

More

After the Yankees' second game of the season, catcher Jorge Posada was asked if he felt concerned about the club's lack of offense to that point. Posada shrugged and called it a "bad question" at that early juncture, walking away from the group of reporters.

Perhaps so, but after five games, there are legitimate concerns beginning to pop up. Bobby Abreu is batting .389 and Alex Rodriguez is hitting .333, but the rest of the Yankees' regulars are fighting the interstate.

Moved up in the lineup to No. 6, Robinson Cano has two hits in 19 trips, and neither Derek Jeter (4-for-19, .211) nor Hideki Matsui (.250, 4-for-16) have performed markedly better. Giambi is hitting an ugly .083 after 12 at-bats.

"Guys are pitching us tough, but we're good enough players to hit anybody," leadoff hitter Johnny Damon, hitting just .111, said after Saturday's 6-3 loss. "It starts at the top with me, and there are not too many guys hitting right now. Six runs is nothing for our team."

Still, the Yankees would prefer not to go crazy analyzing their statistical output. The Major Leagues' most potent lineup from a year ago hasn't forgotten how to produce runs, so those in the clubhouse believe it is just a matter of time before the bats get going.

"This offense is going to hit," acting manager Rob Thomson said. "At some point, it's going to hit. We've had some pretty good pitching performances thrown at us. I think the offense is probably the least of our worries."

Thomson said that the Yankees felt "a lot of energy" on the bench in the late innings on Saturday, when New York awoke from an offensive slumber and rallied against the Rays' bullpen.

Abreu and Rodriguez both singled to start the rally, and Wilson Betemit also logged a hit to load the bases with none out. Posada drilled a two-run single up the middle, but the rally sputtered as Matsui struck out and Shelley Duncan grounded to short for an inning-ending fielder's choice.

The signs were there, but there's still a ways to go.

"We're just not getting that one big break-through hit right now," Giambi said. "As long as we keep going and getting those big hits, we have guys over the long haul who can put it together."

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Chien-Ming Wang (1-0, 2.57 ERA)
Wang will make his second start of the season on Sunday after earning the win in New York's season opener on Tuesday. Wang held the Blue Jays to two runs on six hits in six innings, retiring nine of the final 10 batters he faced in the shortest game (2:31) at Yankee Stadium since Sept. 2, 2006, vs. the Twins. Wang was 5-1 with a 3.38 ERA in six Sunday starts in 2007, winning his final two.

TB: RHP James Shields (1-0, 2.57 ERA)
Shields pitched the Rays' season opener on Monday in Baltimore and beat Jeremy Guthrie, 6-2, walking three and striking out two after overcoming two first-inning runs. The oldest (26) of the Rays' five starters, Shields signed a four-year, $11.25 million deal with the club in January. He has never defeated the Yankees in five career starts, faring 0-4 with an 8.58 ERA. He is 0-2 with a 10.57 ERA in three career starts at Yankee Stadium.

Tidbits
Giambi left Saturday's game with a sore left groin and will be reexamined on Sunday. ... Melky Cabrera has completed his two-game suspension and is available for the Yankees. Duncan will begin serving his suspension on Sunday. ... Abreu has hit safely in all five games this April (.389, 7-for-18). He batted .253 (23-for-91) last April. ... The Rays' Elliot Johnson collected his first Major League hit on Saturday, a single off Andy Pettitte in the fourth inning. ... Joe Pepitone pulled the ceremonial MetLife Countdown Lever at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. There are now 76 regular season games remaining to be played at the current Yankee Stadium.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS 880, WNSW 1430 (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Yankees (Mike Mussina, 0-1, 4.76) vs. Rays (Jason Hammel, 0-0, -.--), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Yankees (Phil Hughes, 0-0, 3.00) at Royals (Brian Bannister, 1-0, 0.00), 4:10 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Yankees (Ian Kennedy, 0-1, 23.14) at Royals (Zack Greinke, 1-0, 1.29), 8:10 p.m. ET

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Less
{}
{}