Who’s contributing to the Yanks offense?By
The Yankees have scored 40 runs over their first seven games, a beefy 5.71 runs per game. Extrapolate that over the course of the season and you get 925 runs, 24 more than the league leader from 2008. Of course, seven games does not make a sample, so it’s unlikely that the Yankees keep up this pace. Then again, they’ve been without their best hitter all season and have been sans their second-best hitter for the past three games. So perhaps 900 runs is still a possibility.
The strangest part about the Yanks’ offensive success is that so many players are hitting poorly. As mentioned in last night’s recap, the top of the order has been pretty terrible lately. Derek Jeter has a line of .207/.358/.310 on the season and is one for his last 20. Johnny Damon has a .227/.308/.318 line and is two for his last 16. So the guys atop the order aren’t getting on base to set up the guys in the middle of the order. Yet the Yanks continue to score runs.
At the other end of the lineup things look just as bad, perhaps worse. No. 8 hitter Cody Ransom has been downright terrible thisyear, posting a line of .083/.154/.125. Since his double in the season’s second game, Ransom went hitless for his next 17 at bats before driving in a run last night. He’s been on base all of four times this season, with two hits and two walks. Brett Gardner is hitting .227/.261/.273 with just one walk on the season. Those are four guys, who hit consecutively, posting black holes. Add to that Hideki Matsui‘s .125/.192/.292 line and that’s five straight black holes.
Thankfully, the middle of the order has seen a bit more success. Nick Swisher has more than earned his playing time, as he’s hitting .450/.542/1.150 with three homers and three doubles. In fact, Swisher is so good that he has more home runs than singles. More doubles than singles, too. Jorge Posada has come back guns blazing, hitting .350/.409/.700 on the young season. Robinson Cano has shown a bit better plate discipline so far, and has posted a .385/.467/.538 line. Xavier Nady has taken just one walk in 26 plate appearances, but is still hitting .280 with four doubles.
Swisher, Nady, Posada, and Cano have powered the Yanks through the first seven games. Now it’s time for the other guys to step up. Those four can’t keep up this torrid pace forever. They’re going to regress, and when they do it’s going to be up to Jeter, Damon, Matsui, and Gardner to pick up the slack. Ransom’s slack, of course, will be picked up by A-Rod in due time. Just imagine how many runs they can score then.