Yankees hope bats can keep up with arms

NY emerges from break 12-10 despite leading AL in 2nd-half ERA

Yankees hope bats can keep up with arms

CLEVELAND -- The Yankees' pitching staff leads the American League with a 3.09 ERA since the All-Star break, and had their offense been able to keep pace, manager Joe Girardi wonders how much better their 12-10 record since the Midsummer Classic could look.

"I think it's important that we get it going, and part of that is getting back to what we do, using the whole field," Girardi said. "Sometimes guys get a little out of whack. Your offense can survive if you have one big guy that's a little off, but when you have two it's harder to score runs, so we need to get some guys going."

The mood improved only slightly after the Yanks absorbed their fourth straight defeat on Friday, handed a 7-2 loss by the Indians. New York has managed just six runs in its past four games, producing three hits in 26 at-bats (.115) with runners in scoring position over that span.

"You've got to score to win," said Brett Gardner, whose ninth-inning RBI single on Friday was one of those three hits. "Sometimes you can score one and win, but for the most part you've got to score two or more. We've got to do a better job of that. Here recently, myself included, we haven't been doing a good job of hitting with runners in scoring position. It's something we have to get better at."

Gardner's RBI single

The Yankees rested Aaron Judge, Matt Holliday and Todd Frazier against Tribe ace Corey Kluber in the series opener, a 5-1 Indians victory, and all three players returned on Friday to face Trevor Bauer. Judge went 1-for-2 with two walks and is batting .174 (12-for-69) with 30 strikeouts in 30 games since the break.

Girardi has said he is less concerned about Judge than he is about Holliday, who went hitless in four trips and is batting .136 (11-for-81) with a homer and four RBIs since returning from a stint on the disabled list for a viral infection. Frazier went 2-for-4 with an RBI in Friday's loss.

"I think it comes down to approach and understanding what a team is giving you and taking it, and not trying to do too much," Girardi said. "Sometimes it's passing the baton. If they're not going to pitch to you, let them walk you. And I think when offenses struggle, guys try to do too much."

Bombers bits

Greg Bird (right ankle surgery) and Starlin Castro (right hamstring strain) both worked out on the field before Friday's game. Both players are hitting off a tee and soft-tossing, and Castro could resume light jogging on this road trip.

Tyler Austin (right hamstring strain) and Aaron Hicks (right oblique strain) are both playing with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Minor League rehabilitation assignments. Austin went 0-for-2 in his first game back with the RailRiders on Thursday. Hicks is 2-for-6 with a run scored, walk and stolen base through his first two contests.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.