The New York Yankees currently sit at 19 – 15 in the American League East Division, just 2 1/2 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles. They are third in the AL in hitting with a .276 average, and second in home runs with 54. So, why does it feel like the season, to this point, has not been successful?
The reason lies in a closer look at the hitting.
To Yankees fans it has seemed that the team has not performed when getting men on base, and the numbers bare it out. Through today’s game, a 6 – 2 loss to the Seattle Mariners in which the New York Yankees were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, only Derek Jeter, Raul Ibanez, and Andruw Jones were hitting above .300 with men on second or third base.
The heart of the order is also the weakest part of the order when trying to get men across the plate. Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira are hitting a combined .201 with runners in scoring position, and the men bordering them in the lineup aren’t much better. Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher typically switch between hitting 2nd and 6th in the order, and together they are hitting .223 when trying to get base runners home. If not for the home runs, the New York Yankees might not score any runs at all.
If the Bombers are going to be successful this season, they need Cano, Rodriguez and Teixeira to improve dramatically when the batters in front of them get on base. All too often the New York Yankees find themselves depending upon the long ball for their production, and while that strategy will produce some high scoring games, it will not provide the consistent results required for them to play into October. That is already evident in the fact that even though the team is second in home runs, the middle of the order has an anemic .372 slugging percentage with runners in scoring position.
Lately, Robinson Cano seems to have turned a corner from his April hitting woes, but without Teixeira and Rodriguez improving, he will be missing the protection in the lineup necessary for the team to effectively produce runs.
Soon it may be time for New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi to shake things up and put the bats who are productive with runners on base into spots in the lineup where they can help the team win the games they should.