NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As unbelievable as it sounds, Didi Gregorius has suddenly become clueless at the plate.
Just a little more than two weeks removed from the April of his life, the Yankees’ star shortstop is in a slump that would be front-page news if not for the fact that the Yankees, overall, have been a juggernaut.
The reigning AL Player of the Month is in the throes of an unfathomable 1-for-41 skid at the plate which has dropped his average from .333, following a 2-for-5 effort against Houston on May 3, to .255 heading into Friday’s series opener at Kansas City. Gregorius’ lone hit — a single — came during Sunday’s win over Oakland.
After batting third in 22 of the previous 23 games, Gregorius was dropped to fifth in the order for Tuesday’s 3-3, rain-suspended game at Washington.
“I’m not happy with the at-bats because I’m not helping the team, to be honest,” Gregorius said before Wednesday’s rainout against the Nationals. “I’m feeling good. Nothing has changed for me. I’m feeling good.”
Yet over the last eight-plus games, Gregorius has just one RBI. This after driving in 30 runs through April 30. His average reached a season-high .372 on April 25.
The 28-year-old infielder said he’s not sure what the problem is.
“To be honest, I don’t know,” Gregorius said. “Because I’m still hitting the ball hard. Whatever I do, whether I’m hitting the ball hard or not hitting the ball hard, it’s at somebody. There’s nothing I can do about that. I’m trying to make good contact out there and the results are not always going to be there.”
The Yankees are one of the few teams in the league that can get by without one of its top offensive players producing runs. New York is 7-2 and has scored 57 runs since Gregorius’ slump started and is an MLB-best 28-12 overall.
Part of that has to do with Giancarlo Stanton’s turnaround following a brutal start. Acquired in December in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins, Stanton’s career in pinstripes started slowly, with just a .222 average through April that included 40 strikeouts in 101 at-bats.
Last season’s NL MVP has since rebounded in a big way, hitting .318 (14-for-44) with five homers, 11 RBIs and just 12 strikeouts in 13 games in May.
Overall, the Yankees have scored the most runs in the majors (234), two more than the rival Red Sox. New York leads Boston by a half-game in the AL East.
Gregorius, who will be a free agent after next season, probably has heard the rumors about the Bombers’ interest in Baltimore Orioles shortstop Manny Machado, who will be a free agent at season’s end. Despite all the pressure that comes with playing shortstop for the Yankees, he said he’s not overly concerned about his slump.
“For the years that I’ve been playing this game, I know that this game is a game of failure,” Gregorius said. “That’s what you learn from. When you accept that, that you’re not going to get a base hit every time, it gets more manageable than trying to explode for some reason and next at-bat go up there and try to do the same thing. I think it’s just learning some stuff.”