NEW YORK -- Another homestand has begun with another deflating loss.
Another day at Yankee Stadium ended with Yankees manager Joe Girardi trying to answer the question of why his team can't hit, especially at home.
His answers don't change. The results don't change.
"It needs to change," said Girardi, whose team now has just 26 games left to save another season gone wrong.
Sixteen of those 26 games will be played at Yankee Stadium. The next eight in a row will be in the Bronx, starting with two more games against the last-place Boston Red Sox the next two nights.
Perhaps the Yankees can still change the story. Perhaps they can do in four weeks what they haven't been able to do for five months.
Perhaps they can start making the Stadium look like the offensive paradise we all thought it was.
Or maybe not.
The Yankees have played 65 games at the Stadium this year, and they've scored 236 runs. Only the San Diego Padres have scored fewer runs at home.
You read that right. The only team more offensively challenged at home than the Yankees is the team that has the excuse of playing home games at Petco Park.
Eighty percent of the way through their home schedule, the Yankees are averaging 3.63 runs per game at home.
"I think I've said before that offense is down everywhere [in the league]," Girardi said again after Tuesday night's 9-4 loss to the Red Sox.
He has, but is there any other team that is bringing back memories of the days before the American League began using a designated hitter?
You read that right, too. The last time the Yankees had this much trouble scoring runs at home, they were giving 80 at-bats to guys like Fritz Peterson, Mel Stottlemyre and Steve Kline.
That's right, pitchers, because it was 1972, the year before the AL went to the DH.
No Yankees team with a DH in the lineup has scored this few runs at home -- not the team that lost 95 games in 1990 (although that one was close), not the one that gave so many at-bats to Lyle Overbay and Chris Stewart last year (not even close).
None of them.
Perhaps it changes starting Wednesday night, when the Yankees face a rookie pitcher (Anthony Ranaudo) who has yet to lose in three big league starts. Perhaps it changes Thursday, when the Yankees face Brandon Workman, or Friday, when they face James Shields (who they scored six runs off last week in Kansas City).
We know it's still possible to score runs at Yankee Stadium because the Red Sox just scored nine on Tuesday night.
You know how many times the Yankees have scored nine runs at the Stadium this year? Two, which is the same number of times the New York Mets have scored nine runs in the Bronx this summer.
The Yankees have given up nine or more runs at home eight times. They've scored nine runs or more twice.
You know all that talk about how they have a minus-32 run differential?
It's true. But this is also true: Their run differential at home is even worse, at minus-35.
They have 16 games to change that.
Is there any reason at all to believe they can?