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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees reacts after being called out on strikes to end the eighth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium on April 21, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

A’s have a broom party: New York Yankees vs Oakland series recap

The Yankees moved into the middle three games of a nine game homestand coming off of a series loss to the Seattle Mariners.  The team has been plagued by a recent lack of production with runners in scoring position.  The Oakland A’s came in having stranded an American League leading 88 runners on base while batting .217 with RISP.  By winning the final game of the Seattle series, the Yankees had put an end to a four game losing streak.  The hope was to start stringing together a few big hits and get back to their winning form.

Different day, same results

In the series opener, Michael Pineda would be matched up against the A’s Eric Surkamp.  The Yankees got on the board in the first from an RBI single by Alex Rodriguez.  ARod has shown signs of life in the last two games.  Batting a dreadful .100 after Saturday’s game, he is 3 for his last 9 with a home run and 3 runs batted in.

Pineda would give the lead right back as the result of a Marcus Semien base hit.  The Yankees would retake the lead in the bottom of the fifth with a sacrifice fly from Carlos Beltran.  Beltran has been the most productive Yankee of late.  Pineda once again could not come up with the shut down inning as Jed Lowrie would tie things up with an RBI single.  The Yankees trio of Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller would keep the A’s off of the board in the late innings, but the offense couldn’t come through and the game would end up in extra innings.  Mark Canha‘s RBI single off of Johnny Barbato in the 11th inning would prove to be the difference and the A’s would take the win, 3-2.

1 for 7 with runners in scoring position and 8 left on base.  One hit against the A’s bullpen in 5.1 innings.  The pitching staff gave up 3 runs on 11 hits with a walk and 12 strikeouts.  In 11 innings!!  Simply put, this was another game that should have been under control and added another mark to the win column.

Things are not going to get any easier as the Yankees will face left handed starters in five of the next eight games.  Aaron Hicks should get plenty of at bats to try and change up the lineup a little.  At the rate things are going and with Nick Swisher and Aaron Judge hitting well in Scranton, it won’t be long before the rumblings for a shakeup begin.

Playing a solo game

Wednesday night’s game was punctuated by one bad inning from Nathan Eovaldi and the fact that the Yankees scored two runs, both from solo home runs.  They squandered a chance right out of the chute against A’s starter Kendall Graveman.  A double by Jacoby Ellsbury and a walk to Starlin Castro had two runners on with nobody out.  After a fielder’s choice and a strikeout, Brian McCann would walk to load the bases, but ARod would strikeout to end the inning.

A solo home run from Didi Gregorius and three smooth innings from Eovaldi were in the books before things started to unravel in the 4th.  The A’s strung together a pair of doubles, a couple of soft singles, and a sacrifice fly to take a 3-1 lead.  That would be the only runs that he would give up in his six innings of work, while striking out seven.  Eovaldi probably pitched well enough to win on most nights, especially with the run support he had in 2015.  However, the Bombers are not firing on many cylinders at this point.

Eovaldi has struck out 22 and only walked 3 batters in 17.2 innings of work in 2016.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that his earned run average is 6.11 after allowing 21 hits and 4 home runs in those 17.2 innings. His current strikeout rate is just short of double his career average.  He just cannot stay away from the blowup inning and his offense is just not there at the moment to pick him up.

Brandon Pinder made his season debut as part of the act known as the Scranton Shuttle and promptly gave up three singles and a walk to push the A’s lead to 5-1.  A double play and a strikeout got him out of the inning, but the lead would turn out to be something the Yankees couldn’t overcome.  Carlos Beltran‘s solo home run in the 8th inning would be all they would add and the A’s took the second game of the series 5-2.  Beltran has been a bright spot offensively and you really have to tip your hat to him as he has had a complete 180 degree start to his season when compared with 2015.

Not what we expected

The series finale saw the Yankees send Luis Severino to the hill trying to salvage one game out of the three game set.  The Yankees took a 1-0 lead on Aaron Hicks RBI single in the 2nd inning.  It was a familiar sight as the team had scored first in all three matchups.  The A’s would tie things in the 4th on a double by Josh Reddick and a single from Lowrie.  Severino would grind out six innings on the night, giving up two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts.  Not an earth shattering performance, but with the bullpen the Yankees have, definitely a winnable game.

The bullpen would not be able to come through on this night.  Chasen Shreve game up back to back home runs to Khris Davis and Coco Crisp to put the A’s up 4-2.  The A’s would add three more runs against Barbato and Kirby Yates to take a four run lead.  The Yankees would make a little noise with a pair of singles in the ninth, but in the end, they would lose their seventh game in eight tries, 7-3.  It is the first time Oakland has swept the Yankees at Yankee Stadium since June 9-11, 2006.

At this point, it is hard to point out very many positives.  The team seems to have leaks springing up everywhere you look.  The team is obviously not hitting at all.  The starting pitching seems to be decent at the moment, but one bad inning per game has spelled doom more often than not, especially with the offense not putting up numbers.  The bullpen has been a bright spot, but as Thursday’s game points out, they will have their moments as well.

The Yankees will welcome  Tampa Bay to the stadium this weekend for a three game set.  Surely the offensive funk will work itself soon as the team looks to begin a turnaround from their worst 14 game start to a season since 2005.