The trouble with offense … and A-Rod

SO, WHAT HAVE WE GOT?
During the offseason, I frequently argued that though the Yankees had their attention focused overwhelmingly on pitching, the offense might prove to be a bigger problem. Then they signed Mark Teixeira, and I promptly shut up. It seems odd to talk about a team that has averaged more than five runs a game as having offensive deficits to make up, but the truth is that the particular construction of the Yankees means that it’s still a realistic possibility. The Yankees have to guard against being fooled by the numbers they are seeing, many of them distortions caused by their generous new home park. To this point in the season, certain aging Yankees would seem to have found the Fountain of Youth. What they’ve really discovered is a beautifully appointed new ballpark with wide concourses, laptops in the lockers, and a loving right-field power alley.

The home/road splits are damning: Derek Jeter, .295/.364/.381 with two home runs in 239 at-bats. Melky Cabrera, .278/.329/.354 with one home run in 79 at-bats. Johnny Damon, .260/.317/.449 with four home runs in 127 at-bats. Jorge Posada, .253/.348/.440 with three home runs in 75 at-bats. These numbers aren’t terrible, but they’re more realistic than what the players have done at home, more in line with what the players have done in the recent past and what we might have projected them to do this year.

arod250_062209.jpgThe Yankees are a .500 team on the road so far this season. Their road production has been, overall, quite good, given that Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano and Hideki Matsui have done the bulk of their hitting while traveling. Teixeira has also done his part. Still, this hasn’t been enough to give the team the same explosiveness that it has had in the Bronx, especially when you throw in Alex Rodriguez’s post-surgical problems. (Likely unrelated to his staying up late. Though I’m sure we all want to jump on Rodriguez for his latest transgression, I’m pretty sure that sitting on a barstool next to Kate Hudson doesn’t stress his hip as much as playing does, which was more the point of his “fatigue” problems than his lack of sleep, dig?)  

Insofar as winning the division goes, this bifurcation would present less of a problem if the Yankees had won more than 60 percent of their games at home. The 1987 Minnesota Twins showed that in a soft division you could be a hundred-loss team on the road if you were a 100-win team at home. The Yankees are a few games off the latter pace. Say they were just a few games better in their own park, 25-10, instead of 21-14. That’s asking a lot of the Yankees, but we’re in the land of make-believe just now, so stay with me. Were the Yankees to maintain that kind of pace at home while staying around .500 on the road, they would finish the season with a record of somewhere around 99-63, and be in very good shape to win the Wild Card if not the division. They may win the Wild Card anyway, but you can’t take anything for granted.

There is something to be said for players that can take advantage of the features of your home park. Not every Yankee has popped a home run every 13 at-bats at home, as Damon has. The problem is that the park can’t discriminate. The Yankees have outscored their opponents by just 13 runs at home. Over time, that gap may narrow, perhaps because of the park, or maybe because Brett Tomko is pitching. Or Brett Tomko is pitching in the park. The players who have reaped the extra support might also regress, simply through age, fatigue (to use a dangerous word), injury, or changing weather patterns or other effects of the new park we can’t yet foresee.

In June, the Yankees are batting .247/.342/.424, roughly a league mark. The pitchers have been fine. June’s ERA is 3.85, actually the team’s best of the season. June’s starters have an ERA of 4.40, above-average for the league, and the transformed, Veras-free bullpen has an ERA of 2.87. Assuming that CC Sabathia isn’t hurt in any long-term-kind-of way, the pitching staff may well have achieved stability. It is the offense that should now be the source of worry. The lesson for the Yankees is clearly that if opportunities to upgrade the offense present themselves, any chance to replace a middling 35-year-old bat, they have to take it. If finances mitigate against such a move, that’s one thing, but sentimentality or the belief that Melky Cabrera (injured shoulder or not) is going to achieve consistency or Hideki Matsui is going to turn back the clock need to be ignored.

And most of all, perhaps more than anything else, a day-in, day-out A-Rod substitute must be found. Applicant should be able to out-hit Angel Berroa and outfield both he and the less-than-limber Rodriguez. Rodriguez could struggle all season, even if he takes a vow of celibacy. Again, the Yankees don’t want to take anything for granted.

8 Comments

I was wondering, does any one really think we can reach the play off’s with this roster chalked full of has beens and never will be’s??? Situational hitting is falling back wards again, Posada just can’t make a routine throw to second with out air mailing it to center field, Arod can’t play third, or hit for that matter, Swisher, Jeter and Cano just don’t know how to hit with runners on base, and the rest of the line up is questionable. texeria has become a ghost again, Posada isn’t hitting, Damon? You just can not hide his weak arm, and terrible play, and pitching?? I won’t get started there.. We need to get younger, we need Girardi gone, and need to learn how to play simple baseball. Torre style. This team, as built is a joke! Highest payroll in baseball and getting to be the worst on the field. The Washington. Florida series exposed our weaknesses, and Now Atlanta is having it all their way in a game we are clearly giving to them. We are a Joke!!!

Mark Teixeira has become ghost because he needs somebody to hit behind him. Where’s Alex Rodriguez, or Melky Cabrera, or Nick Swisher, or Jorge Posada? The idea that Derek Jeter or Mark Teixeira can do it alone is shameful. Are you even watching these games?

Remember the late 90’s, when the Yankees played the Texas Rangers, with Juan Gone and Rusty Greer? The big, bad Rangers, who scored all of their runs via home runs. Then the Yankees would come along with their decent pitchers and hitters who put the ball in play and made productive outs and played “little ball,” and completely shut down the big home run hitters, and swept the series. Guess what, these Yankees are the late 90’s Texas Rangers. The Red Sox are now the late 90’s Yankees. If this team doesn’t hit HR’s, they don’t score. It’s as simple as that. Any Yankee fan with two realistic eyes, not rose colored eyes, knows this team is not winning anything, yes, already in June. If they’re lucky enough to win the wild card, it will be one series and out yet again. And yes, I’m a life-long Yankee fan. This team needs to start cleaning out guys like Nardi Contreras and Billy Connors, who have the jobs, not because they know anything, but because they spyed or back-stabbed for the Boss, or in the case of Connors, had more than a few night-caps to help George get to sleep.

This team seems to have gotten OLD fast! Derek Jeter is killing us, how many more times does he need to kill a rally with a double play before Yankee fans realize he is past his expiration date already?! What is with the throws Posada makes? Into centerfield one day, on the money the next, back to air mailing them?! If they can make the wild card with this team, I guess they could advance if Sabathia and Burnett are shut down pitchers and nobody starts a rookie against them.

I am absolutely speechless with this team. How in God’s name can you still have A-Rod batting cleanup with this team?? It’s mind boggling. Let him bat 5th, 6th, or 7th, until he gets his swing back. Doesn’t anyone on the Yankee staff see that this needs to be done? Why put this pressure on him on top of everything else? Let Cano, Matsui, or whoever bat cleanup. Or even better, let Tex bat cleanup and A-Rod third. Maybe that is the solution. A-Rod is killing a great ballplayer..Tex who in my opinion puts rings around A-Rod. Girardi has to try anything…something that will shake up this team.

Lets not blame Chen for the last 2 losses as the offense has been horrible. How long since anyone let alone Tex has homered?

I read the comment above, “How long since anyone has homered?” You see, that’s the mindset that’s killing this team. You could get a job in the front office with that mindset. The questions should be, “How long since someone made a productive out, advanced a baserunner, got a sacrifice fly, cut down on their swing with two strikes, actually had a clue on the situation that they were hitting in? If you think this team’s offense needs to start hitting more home runs to win, then, as I said, fill out an application, as you fit right in with the other morons running the team, who can no longer buy a pennant or make a good trade. Brian Cashman actually thought Kei Igawa was a better option than Ted Lilly!! That worked out well, didn’t it?

I’m back again. Yes, I know it’s been awhile but I figured I’d come visit to see how things were going and obviously they are not going to well. I’m currently watching an 8-4 9th inning victory with Rivera in against the Atlanta Braves. A nice win but this team is just not where it should be. I don’t expect this team to be any better than they are. You are what your record says you are. I’m going to start with the outfield because that is by far the worst aspect to this team. This outfield is god awful. I’m going to start in left field. Damon is terrible, what a terrible sign that’s been. First off, cashman overpaid to get him.. AS USUAL. You sign him to play centerfield and he hasn’t played center half the time while being with the Yankees. He’s always hurt, he doesn’t know if he wants to play. It’s just terrible. Let me go over to centerfield, ya know where Mantle and DiMaggio used to play? Yeah, that’s right. You have a platoon of Melky and Gardner. Gardner is atrocious! Whatever scout thought this guy was good should be fired. He doesn’t hit for average, he’s an ok defender because he’s arm is terrible and so what if he can run? He doesn’t get on base enough. I wouldn’t hate on this duo patrolling center if it wasn’t for the crap that’s around them. Right field: well, you sign swisher as a back-up. THAT’S WHAT HE IS! Ok, you can’t help that Nady went down with an injury but you had Abreu there locked in to play right! He would have been a perfect 5 hitter in this lineup. That being said, you have Abreu in right, Melky in center and Nady in left. Instead you have Johnny one-leg Damon out there along with speedy Gardner out there who couldn’t hit a beach ball on a tee and then you have Swisher who is the most streaky hitter I have ever seen. Cashman has got to go. I’m sorry, he puts terrible teams together year after year. You can’t have 2 huge superstars and the rest either past their prime, declining or just no good. There’s just no make-up for a championship team here. And everyone stop getting on A-rod. He came back from hip surgery. Get off his back already. Your problem isn’t A-rod. Your boy Jeter is just as much of a problem. Jeter is so overated it’s ridiculous but I’m not even going to get into that. One more thing and then i’ll let you respond to all of this. Can we please stop talking about the 90’s when the Yankees won their championships. GUYS, GET OVER IT!!! It happened 9 years ago!! I don’t care that Jeter was Mr. November 8 years ago! Do it now. The past is over with!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: