On May 20th I wrote an article saying that the much ballyhooed RISP problem with the New York Yankees was not the club’s only issue. I pointed out that the starting pitching had been giving up home runs at a much too frequent rate. Often that can either give the opponent a sudden lead, or erase a lead the team had struggled to achieve.
That problem hasn’t gone away.
Since that article, the New York Yankees have gone 7 -4. Including last night’s loss to the Detroit Tigers, the starting pitching has given up 13 HR over those 11 games. There has only been one game – Hiroki Kuroda’s 2 – 0 win over the Oakland A’s – where they did not yield a round-tripper. In last night’s contest, Kuroda gave up a shot to Miguel Cabrera that put the Tigers up 1 – 0 in the fourth inning.
With the starting staff constantly putting them “behind the eight ball”, is it any wonder the team is having problems with runners in scoring position?
This is the classic “chicken or the egg” scenario. Is the New York Yankees inability to get hits in key scoring situations forcing the starting pitchers to try to be too perfect, or are the balls being launched into orbit off the rotation causing the offense to press too hard with RISP?
In either case, the end result is not good.
Whether or not fixing one problem will correct the other remains to be seen. From a fan’s perspective, I personally know it is disheartening to watch my New York Yankees get a lead, or fight to tie a game, only to see the pitcher on the mound give it up with one swing the very next inning. I can only imagine how the team feels.
Nearly a third of the season is in the books. It is time for the team to fix these problems before it is too late. I believe that the RISP issue will correct itself with lineup adjustments by manager Joe Girardi, and with the return of Brett Gardner.
The problems with the starting staff may not be so easily corrected, unless of course, they are the result of the New York Yankees offensive woes. Which will it be – the chicken, or the egg?