NEW YORK (WFAN) — New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi says his team is suffering from “a little bit of everything”: defensive lapses, base-running blunders, one bullpen blip and a lack of consistent hitting.
Girardi isn’t happy about their 3-6 record or place at the bottom of the AL East. But he’s not about to hit the panic button — especially not after nine games.
“Do we need to tighten some things up? Yeah, we do,” Girardi told WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Thursday. “But I think we’re much better than (how) we’ve played.”
The Yankees are seventh in the league with 45 runs and have a third-best 13 home runs. But their average as a team is No. 18 at .227. Pitching is ranked the same with a 4.04 ERA, and their opponents are batting .261 (24th).
In the field, it’s been brutal. The Yankees on paper were supposed to strong defensively, but they’re tied with Washington with an MLB-worst 11 errors.
“I don’t worry a whole lot about the veteran players,” Girardi said. “I worry a little bit about the younger players, because I think the veteran players have been through a lot in their careers and understand that it’s a long season. But sometimes the younger players can get a little edgy and they can get a little bit worried, and they don’t understand that, over time, numbers are going to balance out.”
One of those players is Didi Gregorius, whose first season in the Bronx couldn’t have started out worse. Acquired during the offseason for pitcher Shane Greene, the 25-year-old shortstop is hitting .172 with six strikeouts and no extra-base hits. Meanwhile, Greene is off to a spectacular 2-0 start (0.00 ERA) in Detroit.
Girardi thinks Gregorius could be pressing as he tries to fill the shoes of retired captain Derek Jeter.
“I’m sure he feels it some,” Girardi said. “I think he’d have to have his head in the sand not to feel it. I can remember Tino (Martinez) went through it with Don Mattingly, and then Tino got going and it all kind of disappeared.”
“Once you get going, there’s not so much talk about it,” he added. “But everything in the beginning of the season is extremely glaring. … You go through a 3-for-20 in the beginning of the season, it looks bad. If you go through it in the middle of the season and you were hitting .270, people don’t say a whole lot. It’s just the way it is.”
After an off day, the Yankees hope to get it going Friday in the opener of a three-game series against the Rays in Tampa.
Listen to the entire interview below for more on Brett Gardner’s injury, Alex Rodriguez’s solid start to the season, Girardi’s thoughts on pitchers CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka, and more: