Left Behind: Yanks Sluggers Slump When it Matters Most

Cano, A-Rod, and Teixeira have failed to produce for the Yanks when their swings matter most

The Yankees storyline through the first month of play, has been an intriguing one. Between the pitching woes that have left fans as well as Joe Girardi scratching heads with more questions than answers. Mixed in with a few key injuries that have plagued the team early: Newly acquired starting pitcher, Michael Pineda, out for the season with a shoulder injury. Reliever, Joba Chamberlain, out for the season with a broken ankle suffered off the field. Brett Gardner on the 15-day DL due to a bruised elbow. And the most recent victim to fall, Nick Swisher, who is listed as day-to-day, suffering from a strained hamstring. With all of these issues popping up, it’s a wonder how the Yanks record is above .500 as they claw their way up the ranks in the AL East.

As if there isn’t enough problems to face, a new one is beginning to surface. Despite finding themselves among the top four leading teams in the league in most major batting statistics, the Yankees big bats have failed to come through when it matters most. On the season, the team has a total batting average of .270, with 121 total runs scored, 117 RBIs, and 38 home runs. However, when there’s been an opportunity to really open up the game by scoring more runs, they’ve come up short more often than not. With runners in scoring position, the Bombers are batting .270 with 85 runs, 81 RBIs, and a mere eight home runs total.

The beef of the Yankee lineup has been the biggest cause of this thus far, as they haven’t provided much offense when there’s been opportunities to knock runners in. Curtis Granderson finds himself in second place on the MLB home run list with 9, not far behind the red hot Matt Kemp of the LA Dodgers. Granderson’s big swings however, haven’t done much for the cause in New York, as seven of them have come when the bases were empty. When runners are in scoring position, Granderson has only chipped in five hits, one home run and eight RBIs.

He hasn’t been the only one slacking at the plate either when runners are in a spot to score. When found in this position, Alex Rodriguez is batting a .217 with only one home run and eight RBIs. Mark Teixeira holds a .238 average with jus one hit and nine RBIs. But the biggest disappointment in the Yankee lineup to this point, has got to be last year’s Silver Slugger and All-Star second baseman, Robinson Cano. His offensive production has been basically non-existent so far, with a .255 batting average, he’s only contributed 24 hits, just one home run, and and a meek four RBIs total. When runners are in scoring position, he’s been especially poor. Posting a .143 batting average, three hits, no home runs, and three RBIs.

About the only two in the batting order that have answered when called on in this spot, have been Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher. Jeter has a .429 batting average with runners on second or third, along with nine hits, one homer, and nine RBIs. Swish has also pulled through big, providing the club with a .267 average, eight hits, three home runs, and a whopping 20 RBIs. But with Swisher out for a short time nursing his pulled hammy, the Bombers will certainly miss his offensive efforts.

Home-field advantage has also been pretty generous to the Yankees. With that short porch in right, it’s helped the lefty-heavy lineup knock a few more into the stands. 22 of the Yanks league-leading 38 home runs, came from the comfort of home in the Bronx. Granderson has also benefited from the short right field, earning eight of his nine jacks at home.

The sluggers in the batting order will certainly need to step up their efforts at the plate when there’s a chance to knock runners in to extend leads or catch up from a deficit. As they earn the heftiest salaries among the rest of the lineup, these lazy bats carried by these stars had better pick it up and start earning their keep if the Yankees want to make any legitimate run at their 28th World Series title.

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About Joseph Kringer Jr

Since I was old enough to put on a glove, I've had a strong passion for Yankee baseball. The game itself and Yankee pride is somewhat of a family tradition, a common bond shared by many generations. My love for the team has led me to find a new passion in writing. As an aspiring sports journalist, I look to provide the best New York Yankee baseball coverage for the fans out there who's lives revolve around this storied franchise as much as mine does.
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  • Jnat

    Other than for Cano, there is nothing new here; this has been going on for the past two years.  Yankees always lead in overall slugging statistics, but often fail to deliver in the clutch and leave a high percentage of runners on base.  This feast or famine syndrome will go on as long as their lineup continues to be dominated by “do or die” sluggers without enough consistent contact hitters to balance it.  They had the right balance on their championship team when tough in the clutch hitting was provided by Damon and Matsui, but since their departure have failed to replace this important component of a balanced hitting attack.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WDQRHRAM5REEXFZPLQHXLEFQDA Shavager

      I’m with you on Damon and Matsui, even go so far as to say Yanks were FOOLS not to give Jorge Posada a one year contract over keeping Andruw Jones or signing Ibanez for DH.  If Posada was willing for a contract in same neighborhood, his switch hitting ability, power for right field in Yankee stadium and CLUTCH perfomance should’ve outweighed signing BOTH Jones and Ibanez.  C’MON Cashman, where is YOUR HEAD?  You let Posada go simply on advice from Girardi who’s jealous of Posada’s accomplishments for Yankees and Joe’s LACK of.  Neither YOU or Girardi are very good at assessing pitching talent or particular situtations to make changes with starters and relievers during games and it’s showing spectacularly now that the Yankees bats don’t have Damon, Matsui, Posada in the lineup for RBI’s, clutch hits.