May
01

I’ll remember April’s offense

By

With a fine mist blanketing Yankee Stadium, April ended for the Yankees last night with a lazy ground-out to Mariano Rivera. For the 12th time last month, the Yankees gathered behind the pitchers mound to congratulate themselves on a job well done.

While the Yankees find themselves over .500 in April for the first time since 2006, it was a rather uneven month. Still, without A-Rod and without Chien-Ming Wang, the Yankees are just two games back of the Blue Jays/Red Sox tandem and seem primed for a solid May.

For April, two numbers really leap out at me. On the month, the Bombers scored 128 runs without any help from A-Rod and with little production from the third base spot in their lineup. On the other side of that equation though is the pitching. The Yankees’ pitchers have given up 136 runs, more than 28 other teams in baseball. Only the Orioles have worse pitching.

We can, however, whittle that number away. Thanks to Chien-Ming Wang, the Yanks found themselves saddled with a few ugly games last month. They allowed 22 runs to the Indians and 15 to the Rays in back-to-back outings. Wang’s first start left the Yankees with just seven earned runs — and a loss. If we are to remove Wang’s games from the season, the Yankees are 12-7. In those 19 games, the Yanks have scored 114 runs while giving up 92. Much better.

Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher were the dueling players of the month, and it’s hard to pick one above the other. Cano has a hit in every game but one, and Swisher has been on base in all but one of his games. After a terrible April last year, Cano roared out of the gate with a .366/.400/.581 line. Swisher, after an unlucky 2008, is hitting .312/.430/.714. Nick leads the team with seven home runs, 19 RBIs and 21 runs scored.

Outside of the Robbie and Nick Show, Melky Cabrera deserves recognition for his April. After putting up a woeful 2008 campaign that saw him lose his starting job to Brett Gardner in August, Melky bore down over the winter and went to work. He had a great Spring Training, but the center field job was Gardner’s to lose. Lose it he did by hitting .220/.254/.271.

Melky, still young, had a better attitude than many benched players and made the most of his newfound opportunity. He’s hitting .327/.400/.571 in the early going, and Yankee fans are hoping that his near-repeat of April 2008 doesn’t turn into a rerun of last summer as well.

Otherwise, Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui are doing what they do. The only really disappointing performer so far has been Mark Teixeira. He’s hitting just .200/.367/.371 with 3 home runs and only 10 RBI. Clearly, Teixeira, with his team-leading 17 walks, will benefit greatly from A-Rod, but right now, his numbers are not where they will be. Teixeira’s at-bats look good, but the ball just isn’t falling for Teixeira.

Considering the black hole of Cody Ransom and Brett Gardner, now removed from the bottom of the lineup, the Yankees offense has shown us why, come A-Rod’s return, this will be a feared team indeed. We’ll tackle the pitchers in a bit.

Categories : Offense
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    The offense numbers are staggering.

    You haven’t even included this:

    The team has played 22 games, and in all but three of those games they have scored four or more runs.

    they scored five or more runs 12 times (although there are some losses mixed in there).

    The Yankees aren’t just scoring runs, they’re scoring them at an even pace spread over multiple games, instead of the past couple years where they wouldn’t score anything for what seemed weeks and then exploded for a game or too. The even production points to it being sustainable over the long hall.

    It’s a good morning to be a Yankee fan.

  • Yankeegirl49

    Bu bu but…wait, didnt a whole bunch of people tell us the season was over last Monday?

    • jsbrendog

      it is, this is a fluke, the bullpen is teh stink and tex will hit 200 all yr.

      /bo’ed

    • Steve H

      Axl says hello.

  • jsbrendog

    Melky = bernie williams!!!!!

    PENA IS SCOTT BROSIUS REINCARNATE (even tho scotty b is still alive somewhere)!!!!!

    i cant wait for all the obnoxious comparisons/analogies/comments lol

    but in all seriousness, to win a game thanks to melky/pena only proves that guys like tex, bitch tits (this one has staying power), jeter, et all dont have to feel like they have to do it all. which loosens the team. having confidence in your 7-9 hitter to knock in a guy from 2nd with less than 2 out can really have a huge positive effect on the rest of the line up.

    how about a couple a+ def plays by pena too? he transfers that ball from glove to hand so fast. fun to watch

  • TC

    I find it encouraging that even though he’s been mired in a nasty slump, Tex has actually been getting on base more often than Posada (.366) and Jeter (.350).

    Obviously the SLG is nowhere near where you would want, or expect it to be, but it’s nice to see that he keeps such a solid approach at the plate.

  • Rob in CT

    Tex is *just missing* a bunch of pitches. He’s getting pitches to hit and popping them up. Soon enough, he’ll square those up and start doing what we expect.

    Of course, Cano, Swisher & Melky will cool off. Jeter, Damon, Matsui and Posada are all close to what they have done in the past so they can probably roughly sustain what they’re doing. ARod will be a huge upgrade.

    So Tex warming up + ARod’s return should cushion the inevitable regression from Melky, Swisher & Cano. The pitching should improve. Result: wins.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      How much you Teix just missing them is cos of his wrist?

      • V

        I don’t think that would effect his ability to square up pitches, unless it’s slowing his bat speed (which doesn’t seem to be the case) – just his power when he does square them up. His power looks fine (when he actually gets ahold of one), so I’m not worried.

      • Rich

        FWIW, they said on the pregame that Long said that Tex’s wrist problems have settled down and he expected him to takeoff.

    • Klemy

      I’m not so sure that Cano does cool off too much. He might be primed for his batting title year that we keep hearing about. His at bats have been very solid and he looks like he has a plan at the plate. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

      • Rob in CT

        Depends on how you define “much.” Robbie’s at .366/.400/.581

        I could see him finishing at .330/.370/.500 (best case). That would be awesome. It’s also significantly below what he’s doing now, simply because he’s en fuego right now. I’m not calling for him to fall off the face of the earth (coughMelkycough).

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          I think Cano will end up at: somewhere between:

          .300/.330/.480 (basically what he did in the 2nd half last year)

          and

          .310/.360/.490

  • jon

    jeter
    damon
    tex
    arod
    matsui
    cano
    posada
    swisher
    mekly

    video game lineup

    • Cor Shep

      it’s insane how girardi is gonna order these guys being that cano and swish are on a ridiculous tear.. i love it

      • jon

        I just love how many switch hitters we have

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          Ditto.

        • steve (different one)

          yup.

          one of the most underrated and under-reported “stories” about the 2009 Yankees.

          i’ve been thinking about this all week.

          the yankees added THREE middle of the order switch hitting bats to their lineup (including Posada) this offseason. if you want to stretch it, you can even count Melky in there, since it looks like he’s going to be the CFer for a while now. Pena too, but he’s not going to be a fixture for long.

          now, when Nady was healthy, they had the PERFECT foil for Matsui/Damon.

          simply put, this is the most balanced Yankee lineup in years.

          against RHP, they can throw out SEVEN left handed hitters plus Jeter and A-Rod.

          agasint LHP, they can throw out SEVEN right handed hitters (with Nady).

          that is a tough, tough thing for opposing managers to plan around.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Theoretically, when Nady comes back you could slot him in the nine hole and have a damon/swisher/nady OF.

      You’d screw yourself over real good with the defense, and the way Melky’s been hitting it may not be such a good idea, but still the idea that you could throw a line up out there where Nady concievably hits ninth?

      And have it not be utter fallacy?

      Whoa. Dude.

      • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

        I’d be in favor of that setup against a Halladay-Hernandez-Beckett-Lester-Greinke quality pitcher.

      • jon

        I would love if melky keeps keeps the CF spot with his hitting but we all know that wont last

        however in close games you can get nady to pinch hit for melky and then have your lineup for an inning or 2 and when we take the lead replace nady or damon with gardner

        • http://www.mysoace.com/sloanbruno69 Bruno

          I doubt we’ll see too much Nady in the OF due to his arm. He’ll probably rest Matsui.

          • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

            Agreed, and I think that’s how he’s utilized best unless Damon needs some days off.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      You can’t put Cano above Posada and Swisher until he proves his plate discipline is for real. Cano is best utilized with guys already on base and with high OBP guys like Posada and Swisher in front of him, Cano can drive in 85+ with ease. When Nails returns, Girardi should do the lineup like this:

      1 Jeets
      2 Damon
      3 ARod/Tex
      4 Tex/ARod what a nice problem to have, huh?
      5 Matsui (when Nady comes back, you can DH him vs. lefties if Matsui’s struggling against them)
      6 Posada
      7Swisher
      8 Cano
      9 CF

      • http://www.mysoace.com/sloanbruno69 Bruno

        Cano is hitting in front of both of them RIGHT NOW.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          And I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. He hasn’t worked a walk in nine games and from what I’ve been watching on gameday, he’s been chasing some not so great pitches, getting back into bad habits. I’m just worried that when his BA starts to fall, he’ll stop being effective. I think the way to best take advantage of Cano’s power is to put as many guys on base in front of him as possible. If 5-6-7 in my proposed order are coming up, there’s a very good chance that at least one of them will be on base for Robbie.

          • http://www.mysoace.com/sloanbruno69 Bruno

            It doesn’t matter what you (or me, or anyone else here) think. The only thing that matters is what Girardi thinks.

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

              Obviously, just putting an opinion out there. I’m still not exactly convinced by Cano’s plate discipline so I’d like him to be towards the bottom of the order so a) he can have a shit ton of guys on base in front of him (I love how the top 6-7 in the Yankees’ lineup get on base at above average clips) and b) when his BA starts to fall and he’s not taking many walks, it won’t hurt the production all that much.

            • steve (different one)

              It doesn’t matter what you (or me, or anyone else here) think. The only thing that matters is what Girardi thinks.

              this applies to 100% of the posts on this blog.

              • http://www.mysoace.com/sloanbruno69 Bruno

                Eh, probably only 98%. lol But your point still stands.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        Canó has career some pretty awful numbers with the bases loaded. I keep him in front of the other guys, because the career rates don’t bare it out.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          88 PAs.

      • http://www.mysoace.com/sloanbruno69 Bruno

        It’s not productive to say what he “should” do. They “should” have let Pena develop as the everyday SS at AAA and have Berroa at 3B with Ransom UTL. However, Lets go with what he’s shown us that he WILL do.

        Jeter
        Damon
        Tex
        A-Rod
        Matsui
        Cano
        Swisher
        Posada
        Melky

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          Well, I think putting Pena on the Opening Day roster shows us that the organization really doesn’t see him as anything more than a utility player. Do we really think that Pena was ever considered a long term answer at SS?

          • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

            The problem with Peña is that he’s so raw, it’s hard to tell exactly what the Yankees will get.

            He’s really far down on BA’s depth chart, but right now he doesn’t look overmatched at the plate in the way Gardner did when Gardner came up.

            He needs more time at AAA to better the develop the bat, but there may be a pleasant surprise in store for someone.

            • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

              My impression of Pena was that he was going to be able to field like a Major Leaguer from day one but that his hitting won’t ever catch up with the bat. I’ll be able to make a more informed judgment when I get home (but Rodriguez may be back by then so I’ve got no idea if it’ll even matter)and watch some games aside from just on gameday, but I’ve truly got no idea at how he looks up there.

              • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

                He looks pretty comfortable.

              • steve (different one)

                he looks better than Gardner, that’s about all i can say.

                his swing is level and looks more likely to produce some line drives. he looks like he has an ok idea of the strike zone.

                Gardner has decent strike zone judgment, but his swing is horrendous.

                • Rob in CT

                  Pena is never going to hit MLB pitching even passably well. His stats as a 23-yr old in AA last year were ugly.

                  He’s all-glove no-hit. As such, I don’t really care about “impairing his development” by using him as the backup infielder for the big club.

                • steve (different one)

                  is he 23? i just assumed he was 14.

                • Yankee1010

                  I agree.

                  Normally I’d be against retarding the development of a kid by keeping him in the majors in a bench role, but I doubt (and I’m sure the Yankees do too) that he will ever hit enough to be a regular SS for the Yanks, or any team for that matter.

                  He can be a decent utility infielder who will field everything and then some and handle the bat a little.

                • steve (different one)

                  also, beware of “never”.

                  the definition of “passably well” is pretty low for a utility infielder.

                  he might get there.

                  no one, or at least i’m not, is talking about his future as the starting SS of the New York Yankees.

              • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

                Edited by RAB: Please review Point 3 of the RAB Commenting Guidelines.

  • Steve S

    I dont know if I missed something, but Melky has been throwing in some serious lippers this season, dont remember that from years past. Its the only explanation- skoal = gritty© player which = a better player. This is simple bad habit Melky picked up (clearly not from Arod) has made him tougher and better.

    • Joe R

      Yeah he’s been packin quite a full lip lately. Maybe that nicotine flow is helping his concentration on not swining at balls that bounce before they reach home plate or sail over his head.

  • Wayne’s World

    Tabloid headline of the day: “Hot Melk”

    • Joe R

      Unless thats some play on A-Rods breasts producing milk, with his impending return I doubt Melky will garner any headlines.

  • Roman

    I feel the bullpen can also be a strength for the team . With coke, melancon , these are two lively young arms I think can make A positive impact for the team . Edwar and jose veras are capable of matching or improving exceptional 2008 campains. Albie and marte are capable of pitching more consistently. Bruney and mo I don’t have to get into. We have seen day and night from the bullpen in a small sample , but I’m confident this will be an asset for the team.

    • Rich

      Don’t sleep on Robertson. I think he can make a significant contribution…if he gets regular work.

  • Yankee1010

    I’m loving the offense right now, especially with A-Rod coming back soon.

    Interesting stat that has no chance of lasting – Teixeira’s .193 BABIP.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Melky, still young, had a better attitude than many benched players and made the most of his newfound opportunity. He’s hitting .327/.400/.571 in the early going, and Yankee fans are hoping that his near-repeat of April 2008 doesn’t turn into a rerun of last summer as well.

    Honest question: If the Brewers called right now and said they liked Melky and wanted to do him for Cameron straight up, would you say yes?

    I still would. Sell high.

    • Nady Nation

      Yes.

      • Cor Shep

        Hell yea Melky’s production won’t last this long. I guarantee if the Yanks make the playoff’s they’ll have Cameron in center.

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Without hesitation, yes.

      • Roman

        The thing is, most people see him failing again . He also put up good numbers last year and cooled off dramatically

        • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Yeah sure, but you’re not playing by the rules of the game here. The rules are: Brewers want to trade Cameron for Melky, straight up. The question is “do you make the deal,” not “would the Brewers make the deal.”

          Or, hold on, did you mean people see Cameron falling apart?

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      Yup. Maybe we could get more than Cameron out of it.

    • Smitt Dogg

      In a cocaine heartbeat

    • Rich

      Not unless I was assured that allocating almost $10 million to Cameron wouldn’t prevent other outlays later in the season to fill other needs. Given the state of the economy, that is far from a sure thing.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “Not unless I was assured that allocating almost $10 million to Cameron wouldn’t prevent other outlays later in the season to fill other needs.”

        Like, say, a centerfielder?

        Just kidding, but you do have to take that aspect of this into account. One of the most likely areas the Yankees will have to address is center. So yeah, you’d be using up some money (that may or may not put the Yankees close to some sort of self-imposed limit), but you’d be using it to upgrade an area of weakness.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          Why just kidding? I think CF is the most pressing need for the Yankees right now, and the only one that requires an out-of-organization move.

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            I was just trying to mitigate the snark factor, I still made the argument that you make the deal.

      • jsbrendog

        what other outlays? for what position?

        • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          I think he means he wants to save money for unexpected needs (like if a key player gets hurt or a need arises later in the season for some other reason).

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  • Ellis

    Swisher didn’t reach base on April 26th, the final game of the Sox series.

    Just trying to be accurate. Swisher is growing on me for sure.