1. YES had an interesting graphic displayed during last night’s game. It showed which teams had the lowest batting averages in the American League versus left-handed pitching. As you may have expected, the Yankees (.199) were number two on this dubious list, trailing only the offensively inept Mariners (.189). What you may not have known, was that among the five worst lefty hitting teams, three teams came from the AL East. Trailing right behind the Yankees are the Red Sox (.215) and the Blue Jays (.220). The White Sox (.243) round out the bottom five.
We knew this would be an issue coming into the season given the configuration of the lineup. However, as is so often the case, we are either unaware of dismissive of the rest of the league’s struggles in relation to our own. Ideally, the Yankees simply would not have such drastic splits. However, seeing as they do, it’s of some comfort to know that some of their divisional rivals are experiencing the same dilemma. Perhaps, to some degree, this makes one of the Yankees more noticeable vulnerabilities a bit less alarming at the moment. Obviously, it’s still a problem the team should look to address as quickly as possible. You know their competition will look to as well.
2. Yesterday was a pretty gratifying win. Hiroki Kuorda didn’t have his best stuff, but he kept the team in the game. We saw some displays of power from both likely and unlikely contributors, and of course we enjoyed the perks of a dominant bullpen. On top of that, the Yankees managed a come-from-behind win (against a lefty no less). Ideally, the Yankees won’t get into the habit of trailing the other team. However, it’s good to know that when they do they can muster up some resilience occasionally. We’ve seen them come from behind several times this year already – a few times against the Diamondbacks and against the Rays if memory serves. These early season wins are especially gratifying while the team is navigating through all the injuries.
3. How about Robinson Cano? Turns out he’s pretty good. He looked lost at the plate against the Red Sox and Tigers in the first two series of the season. Since then, well … he’s been himself. He’s now batting .322/.372/.632 (.424 wOBA, 171 wRC+). He’s tied for fifth in all of baseball in home runs (with seven), and trails only Chris Davis and J.P. Arencibia in the American League (with eight). Not too shabby, especially considering his position. What is interesting though, is that his K% is a few percentage points higher than his career norms in the early goings of the season. That said, I would certainly expect that to normalize as the season progresses a bit further (but we’ll keep an eye on it nevertheless). If the Yankees are going to have any kind of sustained success this season, they’ll need Robinson’s bat to remain hot — especially if some of the other overachievers begin to slow down.
4. Since it’s Friday and I’m feeling frivolous, let’s take a quick pit stop into the world of arbitrary and meaningless observations. Yesterday was my 29th birthday and the Yankees won, which was perfect. I remember telling my wife that it had seemed like forever since the last time the Yankees won on my birthday. Well, as it turns out, that wasn’t too far from the truth. The last time they won on the 25th of April was 2006. Since 1984, they’ve gone 9-16 (there were five off days since that time). So there’s that.