No speed in the early goingBy
The Yankees have scored at least five runs in four of their five games, including six runs in two of their three losses. The one exception was a shutout. Despite the complete lack of hitting with runners in scoring position — .189/.333/.321 in 70 PA — the Yankees have still scored the seventh most runs in baseball. They’ve hit four homers and roughly a billion balls to the warning track, and more than a few of those will leave the yard once the weather starts to warm up.
The other element of the offense, the speed element, really hasn’t been on display just yet. The Yankees stole the fourth most bases in baseball last year but only have three in the early going. One of those three was Raul Ibanez after he took off in a full count last night, and that’s an anomaly. Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez have the other two steals. Baseball Reference says the Yankees have run in just four of their 89 stolen base chances this year (4.5%), roughly half of last year’s rate.
We’re only five games into the season, so it’s hard to get worked up over the lack of running. In fact, I’m willing to bet that a very big part of the lack of stolen base attempts has to do with the opposition. Jose Molina and Matt Wieters are two of the three best catchers in baseball when it comes to throwing out base runners, and the Yankees have yet to play anyone other than the Rays and Orioles. Another factor in the whole lack of speed thing has been Gardner’s playing time. He’s only started three of the five games because of the platoon situation, so more of him will result in more steals.
The Yankees aren’t a club that relies on the stolen base, so the lack of speed has hardly been noticed so far. The offense still isn’t clicking on all cylinders — either with the bat or the legs — and it’s tough to watch at times despite the consistent run scoring (minus the shutout). A little more Gardner and a little more Eduardo Nunez will get the running game in gear and open things up for the bats. This early in the season, the lack of speed is hardly a concern.