The only thing uglier than the weather Sunday night was the Yankees’ offense.
Yes, they were facing Clay Buchholz -- 7-0 with an AL-best 1.73 ERA entering the game. And yes, they only had five innings to work with before the game was called due to torrential downpours. But the Yanks mustered just two hits in a 3-0 loss to the Red Sox.
Ichiro Suzuki hit an infield single in the second inning, and Austin Romine hit a ground ball that found the hole between the first and second basemen in the third. That was all the production the Bronx Bombers mustered off Buchholz.
"It just looked like his location was outstanding, with all his pitches," manager Joe Girardi said.
"He was sharp," said Travis Hafner. "He was not just throwing four pitches for strikes, but he was putting 'em on the corner."
The Yankees (31-25) are still six games over .500. But they've now lost seven of their last eight games, and their offensive numbers of late are rather alarming.
The Yanks have scored just 12 runs combined in those eight games. They have been held to four runs or less in nine consecutive games now -- their longest such stretch since 2005.
They are now 11th out of 15 teams in the American League in runs scored on the season (223) and 12th in team batting average (.246). And they have gone 20 consecutive innings without an extra-base hit.
Some of the early-season surprises are coming back to earth. Hafner is now 1-for-17 in the past eight days, while Vernon Wells is 3-for-26.
Meanwhile, Mark Teixeira is 1-for-9 with seven strikeouts since coming off the disabled list on Friday -- including striking out in both of his plate appearances Sunday. And Kevin Youkilis is 1-for-9 since coming off the DL on Friday.
Girardi did not push the panic button after the game.
"It’s just kind of a team-wide thing that we’re going through," the manager said. "We ran into a pretty good pitcher tonight, that’s the bottom line. He threw the ball well, very well, against us. We’re not the first team he’s done that against this year, he’s pitched extremely well. Hopefully tomorrow’s a new day, we come out swinging."
"I think that’s part of baseball," Hafner said. "You’ll have ups and downs throughout the year. But there’s just too much talent here, and it’s only a matter of time before things get rolling again."
This is the group that has to carry the Yankees for the next several weeks offensively. The question is, can they?