Apr
24

Don’t look now, but our leadoff man is heating up

By

“When I go, this team goes a lot smoother.” so said Johnny Damon almost three weeks ago. They had yet to score more than four runs in a game at that point, though the team was heading into just the sixth contest of the season. For his part, Damon had been on the interstate since the second game of the year. Considering his sluggish start in 2007, you could tell he knew the critics were breathing down his neck.

He’s had some good games since then, but it’s not until the past three games that he’s really put everything together. He’s 7 for 14 with a walk in those contests, blasting two doubles and two home runs. He’s picked up is average to .253 and his OBP to .360 — if nothing else, a testament to the fact that it’s still early, and that anyone can turn it around.

It’s easy to write off Damon’s accomplishments as a small sample size. And if someone wants to do so, it’s tough to argue. But I can absolutely see this being a prelude to a solid season by Damon. And we’re going to need it. Because what he said about the team going smoother when he goes is visible in the team’s past three games.

Categories : Offense

14 Comments»

  1. ceciguante says:

    i had hope for damon entering this year, not just on the unfounded “bounceback” theory, but b/c he and the team talked about the trouble he had with his legs during the first half last year. i had a hard time believing he turned old at 32, esp since he kept stealing some bases if i recall. hank said that hal was on him this offseason to stay in shape, so that gave me hope that he would have a healthier year and a more productive one. i’m sticking with that optimism for johnny. he’s a weird bird, such an odd swing, but when he locks in he meets the ball and he’s really a tough out. .360 OBP….i’ll take it.

    we play today, we win today. dassit.

  2. Jamal G. says:

    I’m loving the rebound by Johnny Damon but with Melky Cabrera’s early play, I could envision a replacement atop that lineup if Damon for some reason were to significantly decline this year. With a *OPS+ of 122 and 3/3 in SB, he would make a damn good hitter following Derek Jeter.

    Can you guys envision Jeter-Cabrera atop the lineup if Damon struggles for a per longed period deep into the season? I really do like that idea.

  3. Manimal says:

    Cano, Damon, Melky, Phil Hughes and Pettitte were the only ones who were good on the yankees last year in October so I wont complain about them. The only thing Damon does that I hate is how fast he gets to 0-2.

  4. kunaldo says:

    How about Melky and his shiny new 122 OPS+?? It would be beautiful if he can maintain that…

    • Joseph P. says:

      I’m not even concerned about the OPS+, though it’s nice. If he can maintain the approach he’s shown in the early going, I’ll rescind every bad word I’ve ever said about Melky. If he can be an OBP machine, I can forget about his lack of pop.

  5. Rob_in_CT says:

    Melky had two hits last night. One was a little dribbler to the SS hole. The other was a little jam shot that landed behind 1B in short RF. I like ‘lil Melky and all, but he hasn’t exactly been smoking the ball.

    • whozat says:

      “Melky had two hits last night. One was a little dribbler to the SS hole. The other was a little jam shot that landed behind 1B in short RF. I like ‘lil Melky and all, but he hasn’t exactly been smoking the ball.”

      If his job is just to get on base, he really doesn’t have to.

      It irks me when people say “oh, when Johnny goes, it’s a different team!”

      Of course it is. Whenever he plays, he’s the leadoff man. Whenever the leadoff man is contributing offensively, the team will score more runs. It has nothing to do with Johnny. ANYONE that was producing in the leadoff spot would drive the offense in the same way.

  6. steve (different one) says:

    i posted 3-4 days ago about how Damon’s numbers were superficially bad, but when you looked deeper, he was doing ok.

    his isoD and isoP were fine, his LD% was good, and he was seeing lots of pitches.

    in other words, his line was suppressed by his crappy batting average, which looked low b/c of a poor BABIP that didn’t line up with his LD%.

    he’s been working the count, getting on base, stealing some bases, and playing decent defense. he’s been pretty good for a while, just hitting into some bad luck.

  7. RustyJohn says:

    He is looking better at the plate, but I sure would love to see Cano or Giambi do something- that 6/7 or 7/8 hole (depending on the night) is where rallies die.

    I’m just glad Jorge is back to his old (2007) self- last night he was killing the ball. Maybe all Yankees should urinate on their hands.

  8. Manimal says:

    Melky is proving that he has elevated his game to the major leagues, when hes good he is as good as any CF.

  9. Travis G. says:

    22 games in: Melky 122 OPS+, Beltran 108 OPS+. i know, i know, small sample size and all, but he’s been excellent so far.

    • Travis G. says:

      perhaps i should have finished my point. of course the Yanks do well when their leadoff hitter does well. despite damon’s recent outburst, i still prefer jeter or abreu in the leadoff hole.

  10. [...] As noted earlier, Johnny Damon has something of a hot streak brewing, as he’s 7 for his last 14, with a pair of doubles and a pair of dingers. The guy hitting behind him has six fewer hits in his last 14 at bats. But if they get going at the same time, whoo-boy, we’re in for an offensive explosion — not that we’ve been lacking over the past three games. [...]

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