Bats Go Cold and First Place Goes Away

No A-Rod for a second straight night as Yankees fall 6-4 in 10 innings

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Stranding runners on base is the new scoring runs.

    There were a lot of boos coming from the Yankee Stadium stands when Coco Crisp's second homer of the game left the park in the 10th inning.

    Rafael Soriano has been very good since coming off the disabled list, but it took just one pitch for everyone to remember that they hated him with all their hearts. Their dissatisfaction was understandable, three-run homers that knock your team out of first place are tough to swallow, but it was also misplaced.

    Soriano wouldn't have gotten a chance to serve up Crisp's bomb and send the Yankees to a 6-4 loss if not for the fact that the Yankee offense spent a second straight night refusing to hit when runners were on base. They went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday night, a dismal performance that was actually an improvement on Tuesday night's 1-for-13 effort in the same situations.

    There weren't many boos raining down on the heads of Yankee hitters, though, which makes you wonder if Joe Girardi shouldn't put Soriano in the game as a hitter. At least the vitriol and blame for the loss would be spread a little more evenly that way.

    Coincidentally or not, Wednesday night was the second straight game that Alex Rodriguez sat out thanks to the thumb he sprained in his return from the disabled list on Sunday. The gut reaction is to say that there's no correlation because the Yankees offense did just fine while A-Rod was coming back from knee surgery, but they certainly could have used his bat over the last two nights.

    No one around the Yankees seems particularly concerned about the thumb injury, which is good to hear although it does little to change the bleak view of the future A-Rod's season has provided. It has been one injury after another for Rodriguez and all the aches and pains sapped him of his power when he was able to be in the lineup.

    There's not much reason to believe that things are going to change significantly for the better over the rest of his contract, which runs all the way to 2017, and you wonder if he's going to wind up being the kind of anchor that Jorge Posada has been on the offense this season. If he does go that route, those boos Soriano heard on Wednesday night will sound sweet compared to the reaction from fans going to games five years from now.

    All that is still to be decided. What we know now is that the Yankees bats have gone cold and they could use the boost a healthy A-Rod gives a lineup.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.