TRIPLES — Raul Ibanez has a team high-tying three triples. He is 40. Alex Rodriguez has 11 steals, three more than any Yankee. He is 37, was on the DL for six weeks and generally runs these days as if he is carrying Robinson Cano on his shoulders.
That Ibanez and A-Rod lead the Yanks in the two traditional speed categories accentuates how one-dimensional their attack is. Now, this is not a homer-bashing exercise. Home runs are good. But the lack of diversity in ways to score has become more overt when power bats such as A-Rod, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson miss extended time or when the Yanks are on the road, where they have 31 fewer homers than in The Bronx.
The Yankee problem is deeper than inability to hit with runners in scoring position (where they are actually mid-pack). They lack variety in getting even more runners into good scoring position (last in the AL in triples, third from last in steals). Also they had scored from first on a double the second-fewest times in the AL and from second on a single the fourth-fewest.
Obviously, the Yankee speed game was hurt by pretty much the nearly season-long absence of Brett Gardner and Eduardo Nunez’s fall back to the minors. But, also, Granderson and Derek Jeter have essentially stopped trying to steal, plus Ichiro Suzuki has lost that extra gear that used to separate him. Strategically, the Yanks feel they are always in scoring position because of their homer ability and, thus, don’t want to risk outs on the bases. But, again, what happens on the road or when some of the power bats are gone or, like recently, when the hits are hard to find?
In addition, the Yanks have essentially gone all-in on power. Their roster is not only older, but filled with extra men like Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones, whose job is to go deep.
And lack of speed also shows in range on the other side of the ball, where the Yanks are among the worst teams in defensive efficiency (turning balls in play into outs). Extra outs mean more opportunities for the opponent to hit homers of its own off that long-ball susceptible Yankee staff.
Posted: September 05, 2012 at 08:12 AM | 23 comment(s)
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