It’s no secret that the Yankees offense has struggled as of late, against both good and bad pitchers. So what’s the problem?
1. Hitting Lefties
The Yankees are 16-14 in games against a lefty starting pitcher. While that’s not terrible, it’s certainly not up to the .608 overall winning percentage on the season. Certain guys like Swisher, A-Rod, Granderson, and Gardner have significantly underperformed against lefties, and it’s simply true that the Yankees are a lefty-heavy lineup (and for good reason considering where they play).
I’ve said it over and over. The team who does better with runners in scoring position is going to win 95% of the time. Well the Yanks are 0 for their last 25 with RISP as I write this (after 2 innings
of the ballgame today). Pretty darn ugly. Yesterday they loaded the bases with nobody out in the third inning against Ryan Rowland-Smith. You’ve got to capitalize on opportunities like that, but they scored none that inning.
Nick Johnson and the DL
Nick Johnson’s extended stint on the DL (who saw that coming, right?) has really hurt the lineup. It forces the Yankees to use a Cervelli, a Russo, or a Pena type every day, and that’s not a good thing. These guys are not good hitters, they don’t get on base, and it significantly hurts the team to have what many like to call an “automatic out” every ninth hitter. Furthermore, when you compound that with injuries to guys like Gardner or Posada, the Yanks are forced to use even more of those utility bench players. What often happens is a lineup with two or three automatic outs. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind seeing Girardi look to pick up an extra bat as a DH (perhaps a platoon partner for Thames) at the trade deadline.
I’m not worried. The Yankees have still scored the second-most runs in baseball (behind the Red Sox), and they have the best lineup in baseball. A-Rod and Teix are heating up, and that’s going to go a long way. The RISP problem should fix itself, simply because the Yankees are good hitters. What I expect is a memorable series or game when it all comes together and this team starts to feel like the 2009 team a little more. So hold on tight. It’ll get better.