NEW YORK -- You could float the case that the Astros showcase some of the best starting pitching that the American League has to offer, but the Yankees didn't play that card to excuse a three-game series in which they were outscored by more than two touchdowns in their own ballpark.
"I feel like we just haven't been swinging the bats," Yankees catcher Brian McCann said. "You can say we run into good pitchers, but I think the at-bats overall probably could get better."
The Yankees wrapped up their 10-game homestand with five victories, and having kicked it off with a three-game sweep of the Twins, manager Joe Girardi said that record represented a huge letdown.
"We have to go out and have a good road trip; that's the bottom line," Girardi said. "We still have half of our games left at home. Our last two homestands have not been what we've wanted, but we have to go out and play well on this road trip."
After scuffling offensively last weekend against the Indians, New York's snoozing lineup batted just .165 (15-for-91) in the series against Houston, going 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
"When things are going well, it gets contagious and you score a bunch of runs in bunches, and when things are going bad, it seems to snowball," Brett Gardner said. "Nobody in the lineup outside of maybe Carlos [Beltran] stands out to me swinging the bat really well the last several weeks."
The group of offenders includes Alex Rodriguez, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Wednesday and has just nine hits in his past 74 at-bats. Girardi recently tried to recharge Rodriguez's battery with consecutive days off, but thus far the results haven't followed.
"We faced some pretty tough pitching; we did face the No. 1 pitching team in the American League," Girardi said. "It just seemed like the good swings that he had, he was fouling them back. He was just missing them. Hopefully that's a good sign and he starts centering them."
Health has been an issue, as the Yanks have missed Mark Teixeira, hobbled this week by a deep bone bruise on his right leg. Jacoby Ellsbury sat out Wednesday with inflammation in his right hip, and Girardi said that Gardner has also been "a little beat up."
"It's that time of the year where we've played a lot of games and nobody's going to slow down and wait on you," Gardner said. "You've got to come here and strap it on and get ready to play, and that's it."
Gardner described the team's energy level as "kind of flat" for Wednesday's matinee following a 15-1 drubbing on Tuesday evening, and said that Thursday's off-day could serve the team well going into a six-game road trip to Atlanta and Boston.
"It's disappointing the way it finished, for sure," he said. "The Astros obviously have a really good team. We haven't been swinging the bats well collectively as a group, but hopefully that changes this weekend."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.