Thursday, May 17, 2007

Slumber Continues for Yankee Bats

May 17, 2007
By Anthony Tripicchio

The Yankee bats are still in bed hitting the snooze button. Joe Torre must feel like he’s dragging a teenager out of bed to get to school in the morning.

No, you can’t have five more minutes if you want to catch the surging Red Sox. Don’t forget your lunch and your Daisuke Matsuzaka scouting report.

With the notable exceptions of Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, the hitting has been abysmal of late. Even A-God has hit a slide after the third baseman’s immortal April. Logic said that once the pitching got healthy the team would start winning, but the bats have failed to cooperate. Such is the case after a 4-1 defeat to the White Sox today, dropping the Bombers to a paltry 18-21 record.

In all of their last six losses, the Yankees have scored three runs or fewer. A major culprit of the hitting woes, Robinson Cano, is 1-20 with one run scored in those games.

That is unacceptable and so is the rest of Cano’s season thus far (.234, 1 HR, 16 RBI). Cano doesn’t walk, hit for power, run, or field well so when his average is down, he’s not contributing much to the team. His free-swinging nature is diametrically opposed to the Yankees’ ideal of patient hitting during the late 90’s. The kid has never seen a pitch he didn’t like. Now, that may be ok when you’re a slugger or even hitting for the high average that Cano has hit for in the past, but its certainly not when your OBP is .276. The fact is, he’s a one dimensional player and this year he’s been less than that.

The outfield also has to shoulder a large portion of the blame. Hideki Matsui and Bobby Abreu, the corner outfielders, have each started off slowly. Judging by each of their track records, it’s just a matter of time before they hit.

It better be sooner than later for Abreu because the Yankees won’t resign him in the off-season otherwise. Hitting third in the lineup for the majority of the season, Abreu has recently been moved to the leadoff spot. Seven extra-base-hits in 161 ABs isn’t going to get it done as a three hitter. Gary Coleman has more power than that. Abreu’s patience and speed should allow him to be a solid leadoff man once he gets going. If not, he’ll get going to another team.

You can’t expect much more than what Doug Mientkiewicz has given them offensively so far, especially considering this guy was signed for his glove. Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi could be ripe for injury-riddled years as they both have struggled with various ailments. Add all this up and your sum is trouble.

Jeter, Arod, and Posada can’t carry the offense by themselves all year. Posada and Jeter are numbers one and two, respectively, in the AL Batting race and the Yankees are still under .500. The maligned trio of Cano and the corner outfielders has to contribute. Otherwise, they can keep pressing the snooze button until next year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great writing and reporting, Trip. You are a natural in this field! Keep up the good work! I am impressed with your knowledge and passion.