When I last wrote about Russell Martin, I was singing his praises for hitting two clutch home runs on Sunday against the New York Mets, including a walk-off homer that sealed a sweep for Martin's Yankees.
For his efforts, I gave Martin an American League "Best of the Night" award, a prestigious award reserved only for the best of the best of the best from baseball's superior league (yeah, I said it).
Today, however, I am giving Martin an entirely different award: American League "Worst of the Night." This marks the first time in the history of both awards (i.e. since early May) that a player has followed up a "Best of the Night" performance with a "Worst of the Night" performance.
I forgive you if you didn't notice Martin's suckitude on Monday against the Atlanta Braves. The Yankees won 3-0, and they simply didn't need much offense on a night when Ivan Nova was shutting down the Braves' lineup.
Which is a good thing, because Martin didn't exactly pull his weight offensively. To illustrate the point, I'll just go ahead and run through each of Martin's four at-bats.
AB No. 1: Martin came up with nobody on and a man out in the top of the second, and he quietly grounded out to first. No harm done.
AB No. 2: Martin came up with the bases loaded and two men out in the top of the third with a chance to break the game wide open. But Randall Delgado got him to pop out to first to end the threat. If you're scoring at home, that's three men left on base.
AB No. 3: Martin came up with runners on first and second and two away in the top of the fifth. He grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning. Five men left on base.
AB No. 4: Martin came up with the bases loaded yet again in the top of the seventh, this time with only one out in the inning. Instead of providing the Yankees with an insurance run or two, however, Martin grounded into an inning-ending 5-6-3 double play.
So, all told, Martin went 0-for-4 with eight men left on base. Evidently, he used up all his clutch hits on Sunday.
Granted, Martin didn't have a whole lot of protection in the lineup with Nova batting directly behind him for much of the game. His inability to cash in valuable baserunners, however, is emblematic of the kind of season the Yankees are having offensively.
Per ESPN.com, Martin's average with runners on base is now .194, and he's hitting .167 with runners in scoring position. The Yankees as a team are hitting .254 with runners on and .220 with runners in scoring position.
This Yankees' offense is not a get 'em on, get 'em over, get 'em in offense, and that's not a compliment. Martin is just as responsible for the team's struggles with men on base as the next guy.
It just so happens he was particularly bad on Monday night, hence the AL "Worst of the Night" award.
To be fair to Martin, it's not like his struggles cost the Yankees a victory. Furthermore, there wasn't a whole lot of candidates for the award to choose from, as there were only four games on the MLB's schedule on Monday night and no AL player put forth an especially brutal performance.
So Martin can consider himself unlucky. On any other night, he probably doesn't win "Worst of the Night." And if he feels at all sore about winning the award, he can always go to his trophy case and stare at his "Best of the Night" award for comfort.
I presume that he keeps it front and center. It surely has to be in front of his Silver Slugger, anyway.
If you ever want to nominate somebody for American League "Worst of the Night" honors, hit me up on Twitter.
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