Price was right and puts Yankees at the mediocre .500 mark

By Rich Mancuso

The night before, Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer put the New York Yankees a game closer to the mediocre .500 mark. David Price, rumored to be on the trade market was on the mound Tuesday night in the Bronx for the Rays. He helped make it official, because the Yankees at the halfway point are 41-41 after a 2-1 loss, and second straight to the resurgent Rays.

The anemic hitting of the Yankees continued. Four hits and only one that went for an extra base says a lot, though Price was a primary reason why the Yankees failed once again to spark a rally. The left-hander, (7-7) through seven innings held the Yankees. He gave up one run and struck out nine.

 Yankees manager Joe Girardi can’t find the answer, though he knows a veteran lineup has the capability to be more aggressive at the plate. “These guys have proven track records,”
 he said without mentioning names. “These guys have to get it done. They have to grind it out. It’s not just a couple of guys going… it’s a number of guys.”

 Struggling, that describes the Yankees who have matched a season high four-game losing streak and losing eight of their last ten games.

Last year it was the injuries that reduced the hits and run production. But a spending spree in the off-season and bringing in some power hitters supposedly was to be the answer. At the halfway point, more so in the month of June, the Yankees were near the bottom in the American League from an offensive standpoint.

That does not stand well with a fan base. They could be heard booing the Yankees in the ninth inning, their last at bat attempt to come from behind. Price was dominant, and the Ray’s bullpen finished the job with two scoreless innings and did not allow a hit.

“I don’t know,” Giaradi said when asked again about the struggle to get hits and produce runs. “I don’t think you forget to hit in a year.” He was obviously referring to Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann, two of the high priced players on a team with a $200 million dollar payroll who had productive years in the National league last year with the Cardinals and Braves.

The only high priced acquisition that has been respectable, but not incredible, has been Jacoby Ellsbury.

 Archer, who has success against the Yankees, was dominant Monday night. And Price, who is on the radar of many teams as the trading deadline looms, was just as dominant. Good pitching will stop good hitting, but the Yankees have not been able to come up with the big hit indicated by a team hitting .249 with runners in scoring position.

Price almost reached 10-strikeouts for a sixth straight start. Had he accomplished that, he would have joined Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan as an elite group to achieve that accomplishment, and he has been one of the reasons why Tampa Bay is 13-7 since June 11th.

“That would have been cool,” Price commented. It was his 23rd career start against the Yankees and he has never reached double digits against them. The Yankees could use another reliable starter but Price may not be going nowhere the way he has been pounding the strike zone.  

Pitching has not been the Yankees issue. They may get CC Sabathia back from the disabled list a few weeks after the all-star break.  Hiroki Kuroda pitched eight good innings and he became the second pitcher to go eight or more this season, next to Masahiro Tanaka. James Loney hit his fifth home run in the sixth inning that was the decisive run.

 The Yankees only highlight at the plate were the two hits from Derek Jeter, a leadoff double in the fourth inning, their first hit off Price. And for Jeter it was another milestone, his 534th career double tying him with Lou Gehrig for first place on the Yankees’ all-time doubles list.

“The guys we have- have to get it done. That’s the bottom line, “Girardi said.  And the Yankees better get it done soon, because at the halfway point it does not look promising for a happy summer ahead in the Bronx.    

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