01 Jun

pinstripe panic?

The New York Yankees are slumping again. Two months into a six-month season, fans and media types are expressing concern that the Yanks (29-25) might do the unthinkable: Miss the postseason. Panic much? That’s how it goes in Pinstripe Nation. It’s only natural to wonder if Louisville native Marcus Thames, the team’s hitting coach, is feeling any heat. After all, the New York Mets fired hitting coach Chili Davis in early May, 23 games into their season. Here’s what Thames said (to northjersey.com) in late April, when the Yankees were also scuffling: “I’m in every at-bat with those guys. I’m in every at-bat, every pitch, every swing. I’ve got to stay the same. I’ve got to keep my body language the same because they’re watching and I just have to make sure that I stay positive, let them know that you’re going to come out of this.” They did. They won 16 of their first 21 games in May. But the last seven saw the hitters go cold again. They went 4-for-33 with runners in scoring position while losing six of the seven. They managed just 13 runs over that span. They’re in third place in the American League East, with the two teams ahead of them (Tampa Bay and Boston) in town this week. It could be a pivotal stretch. Thames is in his fourth season as the head hitting coach, and while the team has made the postseason each of the first three years, it has fallen short of the World Series. That’s the standard in the Bronx.

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