The Yankees have been searching for answers to fix their dormant offense.
But Aaron Judge believes he knows at least part of the issue.
“Just gotta have a little better energy in the dugout and push each other a little bit,” Judge said Saturday after the Yankees lost to the Blue Jays 5-2 in The Bronx. “We’re just missing that a little bit right now. We gotta come out and bring it [Sunday].
“When we’re rolling, everyone’s in on every single at-bat and everybody’s pushing each other. We’re missing a little bit of that right now.”
The Yankees have lost nine of their last 11 games, a stretch in which they have mustered just 21 runs. Eight of them came in one win on Wednesday, with hitters otherwise scuffling up and down the lineup.
Manager Aaron Boone said he thought the Yankees had some pitches to hit early on Saturday, but they did not take advantage. They scattered nine hits, but went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.
Earlier in the year, the Yankees made a habit of coming back to win games.
Those comebacks have been harder to come by of late with their offense stuck in the mud.
“Some of the stuff I’m seeing is just individual at-bats instead of team at-bats,” Judge said after hitting a pair of infield singles in four at-bats.
“Once we turn that around, we’ll be right back where we need to be.”
Josh Donaldson was a late scratch from the lineup because of a stomach bug.
About an hour before the game, Donaldson went to Boone’s office to let him know he was not feeling well.
“Just couldn’t get anything down,” Boone said. “I think he got a little better as the game went on and was potentially an option there late, but yeah.”
Without Donaldson at the hot corner, Oswaldo Cabrera moved from right field to third base, Judge moved from center field to right field and Estevan Florial was inserted into the lineup at center and batting ninth.
Donaldson was the hero in the Yankees’ only win over their last seven games, with a walk-off grand slam to beat the Rays in the 10th inning Wednesday. He has collected one hit apiece in each of his past four games, but was 6-for-37 with a .505 OPS over his last 10 games, one of the many Yankees in a skid.
Cabrera continues to stand out in the field, no matter where the Yankees put him. A day after making a highlight-reel grab in right field to rob a home run, Cabrera made another stellar catch on Saturday from third base, running into the rolled-up tarp to snap a foul pop-up in the third inning.
“That’s the stuff we gotta feed off of,” Judge said.
Cabrera was a bit shaken up after the collision, and received a visit from Boone and a trainer, but escaped with just a bloody nose and finished the game.
Judge also made a terrific catch in right field in the second inning, running back and slamming his left shoulder against the wall while making the catch. Judge said his shoulder was fine.
Florial recorded his first hit of the season, punching an RBI single through the left side in the second inning to score Jose Trevino (two hits) and give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Clay Holmes played catch on Saturday for the first time since going on the injured list with lower back spasms on Wednesday. The reliever said a mix of rest and treatment had him “seeing progress.”
“It’s getting there,” Holmes said. “Rest, couple days of nor throwing and not messing with it, treatment, seems to have helped. So I’m very optimistic.”
Holmes had begun to lose his grip on the closer’s job before he was injured, but Boone said the role would be “fluid” when the All-Star returns.
“We want to get Clay right,” Boone said. “We know when he’s right, we saw it for the first three-plus months of the season where it was about as lights out as you can be. So we gotta get him to that point. First and foremost is getting physically right.”
The Yankees will retire Paul O’Neill’s number before their game Sunday. Fans should be in their seats by 12:40 p.m. for the ceremony.