Gee, the Yankees' offense stinks right now.
They dropped their fifth straight game Thursday night, falling to the Mets, 3-1, at the Stadium. The game concluded a four-game, two-ballpark sweep at the hands of the Mets, one in which the Yankees scored seven runs, tallying a solo run in three of the contests -- the three most winnable games in the series.
"It's frustrating,'' said Brett Gardner, who went 1-for-4 and is one of the few Yankees hitting at the moment. "We're all out there battling, trying to get in position to win a ballgame. We had good pitching again today and we just didn't do enough to support them.''
The clock just might have struck midnight for the replacement Yankees. Help could arrive Friday in the form of Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis, expected to be activated from the disabled list. General manager Brian Cashman said late Thursday night that the pair, after concluding their rehab work with Double-A Trenton, will be in the Bronx on Friday.
And perhaps just in time as the Yankees (30-23) start a three-game series against the first-place Red Sox (33-22).
"It could be a great boost for us,'' Joe Girardi said. "I don't want to put too much pressure on the guys coming back. It depends on what kind of starts they get off to.''
The veterans may be rusty, but they don't seem capable of making things worse.
Rookie lefthander Vidal Nuño, who figures to be demoted when Teixeira and Youkilis are activated, turned in a third straight solid start. He allowed two runs and three hits in six innings -- all of the runs and hits came in the second -- and retired 15 of the final 16 Mets batters but fell to 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA as he received little support.
Mets righthander Dillon Gee, who entered the game 2-6 with a 6.34 ERA and without a win since May 1, allowed one run and four hits in 71/3 innings, racking up a career-best 12 strikeouts.
After Robinson Cano's homer with one out in the third cut the Yankees' deficit to 2-1, Gee set down 15 straight, striking out the final five hitters he faced. Gee, Scott Rice and Bobby Parnell retired the final 20 Yankees to bat, striking out 11 of them.
The Yankees, who struck out a season-high 14 times, fanned 34 times and did not draw a walk in the final three games. Mets pitchers struck out 40 and walked two in the four games. The Yankees batted .235 and had only four extra-base hits.
Despite scoring only two runs in the first two games, the Yankees led after 61/2 innings and after 81/2 innings before dropping a pair of 2-1 games. They never led in the final two games.
"Hitting can be contagious and you can struggle,'' Girardi said. "Teams go through it and you have to find a way to get out of it. Sometimes it can be a bloop hit that happens. It can be a lot of different things. But this is part of the game that every team goes through. It's no fun when you're going through it, but it always turns.''
And for Girardi, with the rival Red Sox in town, this would be the perfect time for that to happen.
"I'm sure there will be a buzz in the air and there will be excitement tomorrow,'' he said. "Tomorrow's as good a day to get back to our winning ways as any.''