Teixeira picks up where Cano leaves off


It was common, at the end of May and beginning of June, to hear sportswriters, bloggers included, marvel at how well Mark Teixeira had been hitting since Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup. True, some made completely unsubstantiated, and in some cases completely false, claims as to why Tex heated up, but despite the platitudes he was hitting the cover off the ball. Still is. The Yankees, the past two games aside, have played remarkably well since then, and much of it is owed to Teixeira shaking his run-of-the-mill early-season slump. However, the team might have looked even better if not for a couple of slumping starters.

As stated in yesterday’s game thread, Melky hasn’t exactly been the hottest hitter since the calendar flipped to May (or, since the season started late, one month into the season). For now we’ll leave him alone. This one is all about Robinson Cano.

Early in the season, Cano was rolling. This came as a joy to Yanks fans, who had seem him stumble out of the gate last year only to partially recover in the second half. It was a long, infuriating slump that no one wants to relive. But he started to alleviate the fears of a repeat by hitting .378/.410/.592 from April 6 through May 1. Robust numbers if there ever were any.

Meanwhile, Mark Teixeira, a notorious slow starter, drew the ire of some Yankees fans. Through May 1 he was hitting a paltry .189/.358/.351. Some fans thought it appropriate to boo him, despite our knowledge that he’s a slow starter. True, he was hitting a bit worse than normal. Over his career he’s hit .251/.349/.433 in April, and that’s counting his slow start in 2009. So yes, he starts slow, but usually not this slow.

Thing started to change that first week of May for Cano. He went 4 for 26 (.154) that week with a double and a walk. Little did we know that it would be a sign of things to come. Since May 1 he’s hit .248/.282/.396. That one week hurt him considerably, as he’s hitting .258/.291/.422 since A-Rod‘s return. Those aren’t good numbers by any stretch — though the power numbers are certainly attractive (7 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs). He’s also walked six times since that point, which is good for him but second-lowest among those with over 50 at bats in that span (only Melky is worse…and Gardner had 8 BB in 55 AB during that span).

Meanwhile, Mark Teixeira was busy turning his season around. He, too, hit poorly during that first week of May, sitting at .192/.250/.462. Again, the power is appreciated, but it doesn’t make up for a horrible BA and an equally despicable OBA. Then A-Rod returned, and we all know the story from there. Teixeira has absolutely hit the cover off the ball, to a line of .361/.436/.811.

If only Cano had settled down, rather than falling off a cliff, the Yanks might be even better at this point. Hard to imagine, but it’s true. In fact, this team is rarely firign on all cylinders. Just look at the entire team, first from Opening Day to May 7, and then from May 7 through today.

If Cano and Melky can get back to three quarters of where they were in April, this offense could be an absolute juggernaut. And that’s something to look forward to.

Categories : Offense


  1. A.D. says:

    Hopefully for Cano it’s just a cool-off point before his typical strong 2nd half. If Cano can do what he’s done the 2nd half of essentially every ML season, then he’s going to put up some nice numbers.

    That said, he shouldn’t be hitting 5th right now.

    • Agreed with both. I think he should at least be flip flopped w/Jorge and probably should go down farther than that. Swisher’s back on a hot streak, too, so he should be moved up. The problem with that is that Melky should probably be sitting now and Gardner should be getting some ABs. He’s hitting well and should get some PT now but then there’s three lefties in a row at the bottom of the order.

      • With all these switch hitters we have, I’m getting slightly irritated with how frequently Joe puts Cano and Matsui in the lineup together. I know it’s moot because it hasn’t really bitten us in the ass yet, but I don’t want to see a LOOGY come in and be able to handle both of them.

        I’d roll with:
        1-SS Jeter (R)
        2-LF Damon (L)
        3-1B Teixeira (S)
        4-3B Nails Krzyzewski (R)
        5-C Posada (S)
        6-2B Cano (L)
        7-RF Swisher (S)
        8-DH Matsui (L)
        9-CF Melky (S)

        It’ll hurt Godzilla’s feelings, but, what are you gonna do? Any way you slice it, we’re gonna have a good hitter hitting 8th.

  2. Texeiramvp (JobaCyYoung)/Letsgoyankees-It depends on the blog says:


  3. I still maintain it’s my “Cinco de Mayo hangover” theory. Those damn lazy Dominicans just can’t respect the game enough to know when to say when.

  4. Moshe Mandel says:

    Just put a post up about this about an hour ago. Cano has always been a second half hitter. The fact that his first half was solid suggests that he might finish the season with some big numbers.

    • Mattingly's Love Child says:

      I know Cano has always been better in the 2nd half, but I hate to bank on that. Is there any real reason why he’s better in July/Aug/Sept than April/May/June?

      The whole patience approach seems to have been lost (as with Melky), and since Cano started hacking at almost anything that moves, the results have not been as good. I worry that he won’t have his strong 2nd half if he doesn’t recognize balls and strikes a little better (or more importantly, good pitches to hit).

      • Mike HC says:

        Cano is streaky. He will get on another hot streak this year at some point. You can bank on it. I don’t know when it will happen, but it will happen.

      • Moshe Mandel says:

        Melky is still having good at-bats and seeing plenty of pitches. In regard to Cano, I am not really sure what the reason is, but when the splits are so stark (.738 OPS v. .884), it seems pretty significant.

      • JP says:

        “The whole patience approach seems to have been lost (as with Melky), and since Cano started hacking at almost anything that moves, the results have not been as good. I worry that he won’t have his strong 2nd half if he doesn’t recognize balls and strikes a little better (or more importantly, good pitches to hit).”

        Maybe I’ve got rose colored glasses on, but I think that’s a bit strong. If you read my comment below, I’m as critical of Cano as anyone, but I think both Cano and Cabrera, even in their present slumps, look better than last season. I know the numbers don’t say it, but I think Cano definitely is working harder on patience at the plate. Melky is hitting more line drives (you could look it up), and handles the bat well. I don’t have anything to back this up, but my sense is he stays pretty cool even against good pitchers and in big situations and can put a good swing on the ball. Even though he’s the weakest hitter of the three, Melky’s at bats against good pitchers, to me anyway, often look better than both Cano’s and ARod’s.

        • Mattingly's Love Child says:

          I would agree that even during their “slumps” both look better than last year. 11111110%

          I’m sure that Cano will have more hot streaks, he’s too good of a hitter not to. But to bank on him being hot for the entire 2nd half or a large portion of it while he still has very weak plate discipline, I think is optimistic.

          Walks are all well in good, but the name of the game is getting a good pitch to hit. You take a walk, it means you didn’t get a good pitch to hit, and didn’t give in to the pitcher. That’s a good thing. But if Cano is gonna rake for an extended period of time, he’s gotta be in better counts and get better pitches to hit.

          Maybe I just got my hopes up in that 1st month where Cano was doing these things. He didn’t just swing at the 1st pitch he saw (unless it was a meatball), and was disciplined enough to look for his pitch. Right now, he seems to be swinging at the pitches that he thinks are strikes, not necessarily good ones to hit (obviously no statistical proof there).

  5. Looking at some of the new sidebar ads here at RAB got me thinking:

    I hope Robbie’s June and July doesn’t suck as bad as the new HBO series Joe Buck Live is gonna suck.

    Joe Buck Live is gonna make House Party look like House Party 2.

  6. Cam says:

    I’ve been saying that we came into Boston at just the wrong time. It seemed in the week leading up to this series that Jeter, Damon, A-Rod, Cano, Matsui, and Melky had all started to slump a bit in one way or another. Jeter and Damon haven’t been getting on base in front of Tex enough which I think can be a reason they haven’t scored more. Cano, however, really needs to step it up since he’s hitting higher in the order now. If not for the Yanks, than definitely for my fantasy team!

  7. Axl says:

    Yeah but when you have an offense with a bunch of amazing players…sooner or later it weeds out the weaker-better hitters from the superstars. Because even though everyone is a great, not EVERYBODY is going to perform incredibly…regardless of how good they are. It’s just how it goes. It’s not a video game. The odds that everybody hits the cover off the ball or even remains tolerable is unlikely. In a 9 inning game…with 27 outs…somebody has to get out…and usually it’s going to be the good hitters who just aren’t as good as the others.

  8. Ant says:

    I think Cano is and is just going to be a streaky hitter, but a great streaky hitter, if that makes sense.

    He makes alot of good contact and rarely strikes out or walks so if the balls he hits aren’t dropping then his line will look like crap.

    Idk where to find his Babip but I’m guessing that it is much much lower then in the beginning of the season.

  9. Axl says:

    Who wins in a fight?

    Nathan Lane or Richard Simmons…

  10. JP says:

    Somebody tell me the following reflects my own cynical, misrepresentation of reality, borne of selective memory:

    1. Robinson Cano cannot get a hit in a big situation.
    2. Dustin Pedroia, who looks like a bus boy compared to the tall, lithe, athletic looking Cano, hits the ball hard more often than not and seems to save his best at bats for the big situation.

    3. Cano, Melky, and to some degree ARod, are hopelessly streaky players who cannot put together consistent seasons.

    • Axl says:

      3. Cano, Melky, and to some degree ARod, are hopelessly streaky players who cannot put together consistent seasons.

      Arod has been remarkably consistent through out his career. He’s on pace to shatter almost every offensive record known to man. While he may not look pretty at times…you have to think “consistency” isnt an issue.

      As for everybody else, you hit the nail on the head.

      • JP says:

        I did say “maybe…” Guess it depends how you define consistency. ARod is way more valuable than Melky now; who wouldn’t take ARod’s line, all .238 of it, but with the homers, from Melky.

        But ARod’s line, now, compared to 2007, or 2005?

        Maybe I’m asking too much, and believe me, I KNOW he’s an extremely valuable player on the team, second only, offensively, to Texiera right now. Still, I’d like to see more of that MVP form when we’re facing the closer type pitchers in close games. Doesn’t seem to happen often enough.

    • Somebody tell me the following reflects my own cynical, misrepresentation of reality, borne of selective memory:

      JP, what you just said reflects your own cynical misrepresentation of reality, borne of selective memory.

  11. rconn23 says:

    It’d be nice if both Cano or Cabrera could draw a walk, so their on-base percentage isn’t almost completely tied to their batting average.

    Obviously, though that will never happen.

    • ChrisS says:

      Cabrera has historically shown decent command of the strike zone when he’s confident (can’t think of a better word) but for whatever reason after a few weeks of offensive output, everything goes to shit and he ends up in an inescapable morass of shitty swings.

      His BB% the past two seasons:

      Year March/April May
      2009 10.9% 4.5%
      2008 11.2% 4.1%

      But in 2007, it was reversed:
      2007 3.8% 11.9%

      I don’t know what gives, but it’s weird that his strike zone judgment is so jumpy and I’m not sure if this is something that other hitters do on a regular basis or just a Le Leche thing.

  12. ChrisS says:

    Meh, something’s goofy with B-Ref today.

    Melky is the same hitter he has always been, I’m not banking on a turn around. Preferably, I’d like to trade him before he hits rock bottom (again) and completely loses the youth-derived luster of hope. At 24, a ~85 OPS+ says, well, there may be more. At 27, not so much.

    Unfortunately, Wang is losing truckloads of value and trading him off is a losing proposition. I’d like to see Matsui moved for something, he’s not going to bring the Yankees any compensation if he leaves as a FA. And offering him arbitration is not necessarily a good idea (but him as an extra bat off the bench on a 1 year deal doesn’t sound too bad).

    • One thing I have absolutely zero earthly inclination to do:

      Offer Hideki Matsui arbitration. The only way he’s back here is on a one year deal at less than half his current 13M salary. Let him hit the market, and if someone else is willing to give him more than 3-4M, so be it.

      I’m not risking getting saddled with an arbitrator who decides that no player has ever had their salary cut in arbitration and Hideki’s not gonna be the first.

      • ChrisS says:

        Yeah, so when he leaves, the Yankees get nothing in return except a few Japanese anime porn DVDs (with scratches for chrissakes). But the Yankees have dough and they can eat some salary for a good bench PHer, sometime DH. I’m not advocating for giving him arbitration, but if they’re going to overpay for a veteran stick off the bench, they could do worse.

        My preferred outcome is that he (+$) gets traded to the Mariners for Dustin Ackley Shawn Kelly.

        • ChrisS says:

          Ah, shit, I forgot they already have an old DH that can’t run anymore.

        • But the Yankees have dough and they can eat some salary for a good bench PHer, sometime DH.

          We can. Just not 13M worth. Nobody’s ever had their salary cut in arbitration. Nobody.

        • JP says:

          I don’t trust Posada’s arm, or his hammies…gotta have room for him to be DHing often next year, if ya ask me. This is one reason I don’t want Hideki back. Damon? I’m warming up to that one, and even he’ll need some DH time.

          Matsui, Hideki-san, ichiban san. But he needs to go. He’ll end up on Baltimore. Maybe the Mets will sign him to fill in for Sheffield or Alou.

      • JP says:

        We need Graig Nettles to come up with a clever saying for Hideki’s departure next year. “He went from Hit-Deki to hit-the-deckee pretty quick.”

        Ok that sucks. Ideas, anyone?

  13. Axl says:

    Remember when the Yankees were an On-Base machine? They used to lead the league by a lot in that department. Then the Red Sox took a cue from us and started trying the same thing. Since then we’ve gone backwards with hackers and inconsistent players while they seem to create the perfect patient hitters…whether they are as talented as ours or not. They seem to have gotten the job done.

  14. Rob in CT says:

    The offense will be ok. ARod hasn’t really hit yet. He hasn’t been awful or anything, but he’s better than this. I expect nothing from Melky (I dare not, lest I be disappointed), but I hope. I expect Cano to be a streaky ~.300 hitter with a ~.330 OBP and some pop. And bad PAs in big spots too. Maybe some day he’ll learn that the pitcher is the one in trouble.

  15. ChrisS says:

    I think the most misunderstood word, as it relates to baseball, is consistency.

  16. Drew says:

    I guess it’s too late to do the kemp for cano deal and sign o dog

  17. YankeeScribe says:

    With the exception of his poor 2008 season, Cano is as good as or better than Pedroia. I feel like Duston is overrated and Cano is underrated…

    • Jake K. says:

      I wish that were true, but the numbers don’t really back it up (that Cano is better at least). I think there’s a tendency to want to believe that the *real* Cano is the one who sprays hits all over the field and bats .330, and that the guy who hacks at the first pitch and goes through long spells where all he contributes is outs is just him not concentrating, or him getting unlucky or whatever. I think the truth is that both those guys are the real Cano, and that we’re not necessarily ever going to get one without the other.

      • Nick says:

        An MVP trophy and a WS ring. Please be semi objective.

        The difference between the 2 2b is also what I think separates the teams.

        One is hard working, dirty, gritty, and performs to an MVP level. The other is lazy, smooth, and perpetually on cruise control. You never ever hear anyone question Pedroia’s focus or drive.

        • YankeeScribe says:

          I agree that they have different styles. Cano is smooth but smooth isn’t always lazy. Bernie Williams was smooth too but also very productive and sometimes dangerous at the plate.

          Pedroia looks like he works harder because he IS working harder having not been blessed with the ideal baseball player physique. Their stats are a toss up at this point and Cano at his best is better than Pedroia at his best.

  18. SS says:

    Gardner had himself a rather decent May – 955 OPS.

  19. [...] The Yankees might have a stronger bullpen. Their starters might hit a groove. The bats might be firing on all cylinders. This could be an excellent 62-game run. They looked like a team capable of it before the series. [...]

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