So A-Rod is now on the DL for his strained quad, clearly hurting the lineup and taking a righty bat out of an already lefty-heavy lineup. Others need to step up but, at this point, that’s so hackneyed as to be cliche. This is becoming more of a weather-the-storm period, with young starters struggling and the bats collectively floundering.
Speaking of which, here are some numbers to ponder just how futile the Yankees, collectively and individually, have been thus far this year. The team is 7th in total runs with 123, and has dropped to 6th in batting average at .259. The Yankees are 12th in the AL and falling with RISP, falling to .236. To illustrate their difficulty further, they and Baltimore have each scored 87 runs from scoring position, but the Yankees have needed an extra 18 at-bats to reach 87, meaning Baltimore’s average with RISP is .270, 34 points higher. That’s not tremendous by Baltimore, but still significantly better than the Yankees. With runners in scoring position and two outs, the Yanks are 9th at .216. They are 9th in total walks with 85, far behind league-leading Oakland with 121. The team is 12th in stolen bases with 10–in 28 games. The Yankees are 12th in batting average against lefties at .237, and are 7th in the AL having grounded into 23 double-plays.
Individually, Giambi is just a disaster at the plate. He’s 0-16 against lefties, .091 with runners in scoring position (though delivering with an RBI single in this situation last night), yet .300 on first-pitch swings in play. Cano is equally atrocious, hitting .150 against lefties, 4-32 or .125 with RISP, and 3-21 or .143 on first-pitch swings in play. Abreu is .240 against lefties, but 9-24 or .375 with RISP. Matsui is .318 against lefties, but 4-16 or .250 with RISP. Jeter is a monster with RISP, still batting .429 (9-21). The Captain is also batting .400 on first-pitch balls in play, though he seems incapable of veering from this approach when the team needs him to work the count and tire a pitcher. Consider this: 45 of his 96 plate appearances thus far this season have ended on the first or second pitch. That’s ultimately counterproductive for a two-hole hitter.
The team stands 12th in team ERA at 4.51. The problem is getting hit and not so much yielding walks. The staff has allowed the third-most hits in the AL at 239 and is 7th in walks allowed with 90, leaving them tied for 9th in WHIP with 1.41 (though calculating the WHIP to the thousandths place lowers then to 12th). Not surprisingly, Yankees’ relievers have thrown the most innings with 96 1/3, but are 7th in bullpen ERA at 3.72, 4th in bullpen batting average allowed (BAA) at .237, and 4th in bullpen WHIP at 1.26. The starters are a different story. Not surprisingly, the starters are second-last in the AL in ERA at 5.07, 12th in starters’ WHIP at 1.52, 7th in hits allowed at 161, and 6th in walks allowed at 55. Their high WHIP thus results not from having allowed tons of hits, and not from having allowed tons of walks, but from having allowed what they have in an AL-low 142 innings. To compare, also in 28 starts, Angels starters have thrown 174 innings, Oakland’s starters 169, and Boston’s 164 2/3. To name names, though I respect and have been patient with the kids, Hughes in six starts has an ERA of 9.00, has thrown 22 innings allowing 34 hits and 13 walks for a WHIP of 2.14, and in three starts (excluding the rain game last Thursday in Chicago) has failed to complete four innings. Kennedy has an ERA of 8.53 in five starts, allowing 23 hits and an astounding 17 walks in 19 innings, from a control pitcher, for a WHIP of 2.11. Only against Tampa on April 14 has Kennedy pitched into a sixth inning this year.
In sum, the team and important players are terrible in key situations, aren’t generating enough offense especially lately, aren’t patient enough at the plate, aren’t hitting lefties, and aren’t running nearly enough. Other than that, the injuries, the poor and short starts, and their subsequent potential to tax a fairly good bullpen that leads the AL in innings logged, they’re just fine.