Yankees’ bats underwhelm in shutout loss to Jays – Boston Herald

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The boos started early for George Springer Monday night and then it turned on the home team. Springer, the target of Yankees fans’ vitriol for his part in the 2017 Astros cheating scandal, quieted the taunts with a home run and RBI double. The anger of the sparse crowd at Yankee Stadium then turned on the Bombers’ weak offense.

The Yankees managed just three hits and were shut out by Alek Manoah and the Blue Jays bullpen in a 3-0 loss at the Stadium.

The Yankees (2-2) have lost two straight and went down quietly to their American League East rivals Monday night. The boos turned on the Yankees in the eighth when Adam Cimber got DJ LeMahieu to fly out, and then worked around hitting Anthony Rizzo with a pitch when he struck out Aaron Judge (his second of the night) and coaxed a pop out from Giancarlo Stanton.

Joey Gallo, who had his first multiple-hit game of the season, led off the ninth with a single, but Gleyber Torres then hit into a double play. Aaron Hicks singled before Kyle Higashioka struck out to end the game.

It went like that most of the night.

Manoah flummoxed the Yankees’ supposedly powerful lineup. Joey Gallo’s single in the second was the Bombers’ only hit for the first six innings. The Blue Jays right-hander, who made his major league debut here at Yankee Stadium last season, did put four Yankees on the bases with walks, but also struck out seven.

Yes, it’s very, very early in the season. But offense was an issue last season for the Yankees, who have yet to show they’ve improved that aspect of their game.

The Yankees were built on power hitters and to overwhelm their opponents with offense, but finished seventh in the American League in OPS (.729), 10th in runs scored (711) and were fourth in strikeouts (1482) last season. The Yankees let long-time hitting coach Marcus Thames and assistant hitting coach PJ Pilittere go this winter after those offensive struggles.

They promoted Dillon Lawson, who had been the team’s minor league hitting coordinator, to the coaching position with the big leaguers. The promoted Triple-A hitting coach Casey Dykes to his assistant and hired Hensley Meulens, who has vast major league coaching experience, as the second assistant.

So far the change in personnel hasn’t netted the results the Yankees have wanted.

While offense is down across the board with the league-wide batting average through four games down from .237 last year to .229 now and OPS from .714 to .682, the Yankees aren’t exactly dominating on that side of the ball. The Yankees went into Monday night’s game 18th in scoring in the league and 16th in OPS.

Like last year, the pitching was strong again Monday, but this time right from the start.

Taillon, who was a question mark to start the season after having ankle surgery this winter, was the first Yankee pitcher to get through five innings. The three previous Yankees starters — Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery — combined for 10.1 innings. Taillon battled the Blue Jays, allowing two runs on five hits. He struck out six and did not walk a batter. The only damage the Blue Jays did to the right-hander was George Springer’s third-inning, two-run homer.

Taillon held the rest of the Blue Jays’ explosive lineup, which already had a major league-leading eight homers coming into the game, in check.

“I mean, they have a lot of good hitters. They’re extremely deep. They can do a lot of different things cover a lot of different pitches, but I mean, still some of the same things that always worked pitching will work against them,” Taillon said. “Not letting them sit on one pitch in one spot. So I try to stay unpredictable, move the ball around, mix it from at-bat to at-bat.”

Michael King gave up an RBI double to Springer in the seventh. The Blue Jays pushed the Yankees for the final American League playoff spot last season and their young lineup is dangerous.

“They can bang.  They can really hit no question about it and have a really formidable rotation. It’s a really good club,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And we saw that last year, the year before for that matter. It’s a really strong young nucleus of players. They’re going to be hard to play all season long and look forward to that challenge.”

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