The Machine is leaking oil.
Last year’s American League batting champion was already a shell of his prior self at the plate and Sunday night a rare defensive miscue contributed to yet another Yankees loss.
DJ LeMahieu’s inability to get to a shallow pop-up in right field off the bat of pinch-hitter Christian Arroyo contributed to the Red Sox completing the sweep in The Bronx with a come-from-behind 6-5, 10-inning victory in front of 19,103 at the Stadium.
LeMahieu also had a chance to pull the Yankees even in the 10th, but grounded out to complete his miserable night.
Leading off the eighth inning, Arroyo got under a Wandy Peralta sinker. LeMahieu backpedaled into right field, and right fielder Clint Frazier was slow to the spot, forcing LeMahieu to try to make the acrobatic grab. It fell to the grass and two batters later, the Red Sox had the lead on Xander Bogaerts’ sacrifice fly.
At the plate, LeMahieu went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts, as his lack of production continued. He has just nine extra-base hits in 221 at-bats and a .656 OPS that would be his lowest in seven seasons. Lately, it’s been even worse. LeMahieu has just three home runs this season, and hasn’t gone deep since May 7. His last extra-base hit was a double on May 18, a drought of 62 at-bats.
While LeMahieu is batting a respectable .253 in this pitching-dominated year, it’s nowhere close to his .364 of a year ago in the COVID-19 shortened season, or even the .327 he batted in his first season in The Bronx the season before.
There are a lot of factors in the Yankees’ struggles at the plate. Giancarlo Stanton was hurt and is just 2-for-24 with 12 strikeouts since coming off the injured list. Aaron Hicks was lost for the season to a wrist injury, and Frazier and Brett Gardner have both failed to produce. LeMahieu was supposed to be a given. Instead, he’s failed to come close to the player who was such a key of the last two Yankee teams.