After last night's 3-2 loss to the Rangers, the Yankees are now worse off in the AL East standings (5.5 G B) than they were coming out of the All Star Break. All the optimism and confidence the team gave to fans after the sweep of the Cincinnati Reds has gone down the drain. The main culprit for those lost feelings is, of course, the offense.
Aside from a 12-run outburst on Tuesday night, the bats were frustratingly quiet in Texas this week. The only player with any real consistency during the series was Brett Gardner. Gardner's numbers against the Rangers were outstanding: 8-11 (.727), 6 R, 2 2B, 4 HR, 4 RBI. You might have heard that his performance promoted Rangers ace Yu Darvish to joke, "I blame the parents...."
Whatever it is, Gardner has been on fire this week. His power surge makes me think back to the off-season when the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury. In Ellsbury's signing, the Yankees thought they were getting the player Gardner has been recently. Ellsbury was thought of as Gardner with a little more pop. I don't know if Gardner can keep adding to his power numbers, but Ellsbury certainly should be able to. Though he has had a very good season so far, his nine home runs have been a bit of a disappointment.
Ellsbury might be able to add to that nine this weekend, when he returns to his old stomping grounds, Fenway Park. He has hit the Red Sox well this season and, though he hasn't homered there (well, he almost did), he has done well at Fenway, batting .333.
Everyone else in the Yankees lineup should do well at Fenway this weekend as well, with the Red Sox in full seller mode. If they don't, they might have to think seriously of kissing the 2014 season goodbye.