Kevin Long has excellent job security and is one of the highest-paid coaches in baseball. But even the Yankees' batting coach admits the team's anemic hitting this postseason has been "unsettling" for him.
"You don't sit back and there's not a whole lot of smiling and laughing," Long said after the Yankees were shut out by the Tigers, 3-0, on Sunday in Game 2 of the ALCS to go down 2-0 in the series. "That's expected. But it's a matter of us staying together as a unit and trying to find ways to get this turned a little bit."
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Long, the Yankees' hitting coach since 2007, is in the middle year of a three-year contract worth a reported $1.875 million. He is well-respected in the business and in the clubhouse; there has been no suggestion that the Yankees' offensive woes could put his job in jeopardy.
That doesn't mean it's been fun for him.
"It doesn't get any easier," Long said. "Justin Verlander's sitting there waiting for us . We'll just stay at it and I've got to hope it's going to turn around."
The numbers are shocking: In seven games in two rounds, Alex Rodriguez is batting .130 with 12 strikeouts in 23 at-bats. Curtis Granderson is batting .115 with 14 strikeouts in 26 at-bats. Robinson Cano is hitless in his last 26 at-bats -- it's the longest streak in one postseason in major-league history -- and overall is 2-for-32 (.063).
Nick Swisher is doing his usual postseason swoon (.154). That one's not that shocking.
Raul Ibañez (.438, three homers, five RBIs), Mark Teixeira (.320, seven walks), Ichiro Suzuki (.273, one HR, five RBIs) and Derek Jeter (.333 before he was injured) have carried the offense. Russell Martin is at .192 to round out the regulars.
An animated and frustrated Joe Girardi said after Game 2 that the Yankees "have to make adjustments. We know what they are doing to us. You have to make adjustments. They are not going to put it on a tee for us. We know that. We are more than capable of scoring runs and have done it a number of times this year. We have to make adjustments."
If that sounded like a criticism of the hitting coach, Long shrugged it off without saying whether he agrees with Girardi's assessment.
"At times, it'll look like that," Long said. "Any time you're not scoring or you're making outs, everything's going to be magnified. That's certainly the case. Like I said, we need to kind of regroup, we need to kind of get things going in the right direction, we need some things to kind of go our way, and we can turn this thing around."
The Yankees enjoyed a total day off Monday. Clear the mind and all that. It couldn't hurt.
"Last two games haven't been really good for us," Rodriguez said. "A change of scenery might be good and a little refreshing for our team. Take a day off, take a deep breath and come back and play great baseball. We've been doing it all year. Our backs have been against the wall and there's no question we're going to come back firing."