Hiroki Kuroda with sufficient run support when he is on the mound. The Yankees lost their second straight game to open the 2014 season against the Houston Astros, by a score of 3-1, despite Kuroda’s six innings of two-run ball.
While Kuroda did put the Yankees behind in the first inning allowing a home run to Dexter Fowler, the offense was virtually non-existent again Wednesday night. When the Bombers were able to get runners in scoring position they couldn’t find the hit they needed, going 0-for-10 in such opportunities. They’ve hit a collective 2-for-18 with RISP so far this season.
Brian Roberts and Brian McCann were the lone Yankees to get more than one hit, stroking three and two singles respectively. Carlos Beltran added the Yankees only extra-base hit, a double to lead off the eighth inning. But he was stranded as Astros reliever Matt Albers struck out McCann, Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano to dampen the rally. The Yankees only run came off a hard hit double play grounder by Yangervis Solarte in the seventh inning.
No one in the Yankees' clubhouse was ready to concede the season after two games. Beltran suggested the offense is there and will come around.
“We’re going to be fine, man,” said Beltran via the New York Daily News. “We haven’t been able to put anything together offensively, but we have what it takes to play better and win ballgames. We don’t need to worry about it.”
Of course Beltran is right, two games does not make a season. However, expectations for this team could be even higher than in recent seasons -- if that is possible -- since the Yankees claim a championship is the only goal every year.
After signing several big ticket free agents the Yankees have mounted extra pressure on themselves. On the brink of being swept by the Astros, projected to finish last in the American League West by virtually everyone, is not quite what fans had in mind.
Social media sites were ripe with doomsday chatter throughout the game. Look, it’s not fun to watch your favorite team lose twice to what is supposed to be an inferior club, but the premise that this means the season is over is ridiculous.
The 2009 Yankees, winners of the franchise’s 27th World Series title, lost their first two games in Baltimore to an Orioles squad that finished 64-98. The 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants were swept in their opening series and lost four of their first five games. Last season the St. Louis Cardinals, the eventual National League Champions, opened the season losing three of their first four games.
Bad starts happen; it’s what the team does to put it behind them. This Yankees team has the ability to be good, very good in fact. There are 160 games left to prove it.
New York Yankees logo courtesy of SportsLogos.net.
Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.