Ben might check in later with a longer and more elaborate game post, but I wanted to make note of this. The Yankees today rallied for 17 hits. That’s remarkable itself, considering the offensive dearth we’ve witnessed for the better part of the season. Yet there’s something else behind this onslaught.
Of the 17 hits, just one went for extra bases, and that was a solo homer for Johnny Damon in the 2nd. That is one of the Yankees 13 runs. The other 12 came the hard way. Walks, singles, sacrifices, errors. This is something we’re not quite used to seeing.
The Yankees were 8 for 16 with runners in scoring position today with two sac flies. Alex Rodriguez, Mr. Unclutch himself, was 2 for 3 with runners in scoring position, and recorded four RBI. This is the kind of performance that leads to wins, even with Sidney Ponson on the mound. Unfortunately, this is an aberration for the 2008 Yankees. They’re hitting .258 with runners in scoring position, 10th in the American League.
Now for a tangent. Many people believe that the Yankees woes are centered around the offense, in particular the lack of hitting with runners in scoring position. Will you venture a guess as to who has the worst team average in the AL in those situations? None other than the first place Tampa Bay Rays. They’re hitting .246 with RISP. Yet, they’re still atop the division. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that they’ve had their top five pitchers going every game from early May through now. But they’re finding ways to win even though their numbers with RISP are the worst in the AL. They Yankees, well, just aren’t.
(The Yanks have had 76 more at bats with RISP, but does that make a huge difference when we’re talking 1,100 or 1,200 at bats for the season? Oh, and Baltimore is second in the league with runners in scoring position.)
I wish there was a way we could pinpoint the one thing that has hampered the Yanks this season, but one doesn’t exist. It has been a concoction of circumstances, not the least of which being their numbers with RISP and the fact that they’re trotting out the likes of Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner on a regular basis. You could list more than a dozen factors. I’m sure we’ll get to all that in the off-season. For now, though, let’s enjoy a win.
I wonder if they’ll be up for a Lynch Sidney Ponson night out in Seattle on Saturday.