Though they scored two late runs in a 13-inning win over the Cubs on Wednesday to salvage a split at Wrigley Field, the Yankees have scuffled offensively as of late. Things won't get any easier when the Bombers travel eight miles south to start a four-game set with the White Sox.
Thursday marks the return of White Sox ace Chris Sale, who has been on the disabled list since April 22 with a strained flexor muscle in his left arm. The wiry southpaw is 3-0 with a 2.30 ERA in four starts. He had a successful bullpen session on Tuesday and impressed in his rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte on Friday, striking out 11 in four one-hit innings.
"It's seems like I've been in here for three months, watching baseball not really doing anything," Sale said. "You feel excluded, everyone's doing their part and chipping in and helping win ballgames, and I'm just sitting over there on the sidelines with pom-poms in my hands really. Actually not even that, sitting in the training room with my elbow in a bucket."
The Bombers, meanwhile, are searching for an answer for their cool bats. The Yanks have scored just 24 runs in their last seven games, and more than four runs just once in that span.
"It's not like we haven't been scoring at all," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We've got a guy here and there struggling. They're still going to hit and we still consider them to be important parts of our offense. You don't make too much of 25 at-bats, 35 at-bats. If it starts to go on for 100 at-bats, 200 at-bats, then you start to make a lot out of it. You go around the league and you're going to see guys in 1-for-20s. It happens."
One Yankee in a notable slump is Jacoby Ellsbury, who enjoyed a temporary reprieve with a 2-for-6 game Wednesday. He's 7-for-55 (.127) over his last 15 games, and is hitting .234 in the month of May after hitting .312 in April. Brian McCann, meanwhile, is mired in a season-long funk. McCann has hit just .226 with six homers and 18 RBIs this season.
"The one thing I've noticed about Jake is, he's the same every day. Brian McCann has been the same guy every day," Girardi said. "I don't see them putting extra pressure on themselves or being down when they come in the clubhouse. They've been the same every day."
McCann, Ellsbury and the rest of the lineup will look to back righty David Phelps, who will make his fourth start of the year. His previous outing was his best, as he scattered five hits across five shutout innings against the Pirates on Saturday.
White Sox: Jeter and Konerko meet during final go-round
Derek Jeter has received a warm welcome at every ballpark he's visited this year, and rightfully so. The Yankees captain is idolized throughout the game and has already visited several parks for the final time.
White Sox captain Paul Konerko, who is also retiring at the end of the season, doesn't have quite the notoriety Jeter enjoys. That didn't stop Jeter from praising Konerko.
"Paulie, he's a great guy. I've enjoyed competing against him," Jeter said. "He's the captain of the White Sox, he's a guy who's had a lot of success and plays the game the right way. I've enjoyed getting to know him throughout the years. He's had a lot of success against us.
"Paulie is someone that I think White Sox fans will always remember. It has just as much to do with what he's done on the field."
As Jeter mentioned, Konerko historically has mashed against the Yankees. In 102 games against the Bombers, he's hit .316 with 23 home runs, 65 RBIs and a .958 OPS.
Yankees: Injuries continue to take toll
The injury bug hasn't just bit the Yankees lately, it's taken a big chomp out of their roster.
Recent injuries to Carlos Beltran and CC Sabathia swelled the number of Yankees on the DL to six. Ivan Nova is out for the season, while Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Francisco Cervelli and Shawn Kelley all won't be back until either June or July.
The Bombers used a franchise-record 56 players last year, so does the latest onslaught of injuries feel like de ja vu?
"No. I think last year we had probably dealt with more at this point," Girardi said. "You're going to have injuries every year, and it's how you manage them and how guys step in and take those at-bats or turns in the rotation or innings in the bullpen. ... It determines a lot of times how you do."
• The Yankees are 3-4 in their last seven games decided by two runs or fewer after starting the year 9-4 in such games.
• Jeter needs one more game at shortstop to tie Luis Aparicio (2,583) for second place on baseball's all-time list.
• With Wednesday's extra-inning win over the Cubs, New York is 9-5 in its last 14 road games, compared to 3-7 in its last 10 home games.
• The White Sox have won six straight games over the Yankees at U.S. Cellular Field, its longest home winning streak against New York since May 7, 1989-June 29, 1990.
• Chicago's Adam Dunn needs two homers to tie Jeff Bagwell and Vladamir Guerrero (449) for 36th place all-time.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.