LADY AT THE BAT: Despite 7-Run Outburst vs White Sox, Yankees' Offense Still A Problem

Monday, May 26, 2014

Despite 7-Run Outburst vs White Sox, Yankees' Offense Still A Problem

On an afternoon when the New York Yankees managed to salvage a series split with the Chicago White Sox, it may seem a little inopportune to fret about the team's offensive struggles but, it's necessary.

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After losing the first two games in disheartening fashion and winning the third by staging a dramatic ninth inning comeback, the final game of the series was a relaxing affair with Masahiro Tanaka returning to his dominant ways and Derek Jeter having a stellar 4-for-5 day at the plate. It was a feel good day for the Yankees and their fans.

Still, as the Yankees continue their road trip, with a series against the 28-22 St. Louis Cardinals up next, there are some offensive concerns that bear mentioning, mainly, the continued struggles of the hired hands brought in over the offseason.

Although the Yankees had 10 hits in Sunday’s game, four of them came off the bat of Derek Jeter, who hopefully made good on his promise to spray some champagne after such a performance. Of the remaining six, half of them came from fellow home grown Yankees Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano, while newcomers Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian Roberts managed only one hit, Roberts’s home run, in a combined nine ABs.

While remaining aware that Saturday’s win doesn’t happen without the game tying and game winning hits by McCann and Ellsbury respectively, it’s worth noting that the Yankees aren’t going to run away with many games with their #3 and #5 hitters going 0-fer-the game. In Friday’s loss, the three went a combined 2-for-13.

The trio has had their share of spectacular games but they have been lacking in any consistency. Ellsbury, in particular, is mired in a slump that has seen his average drop from over .330 to .258 in just a few weeks. None of this even considers Carlos Beltran, who may be headed for surgery that will sideline him for approximately two months.

It is a safe assumption that this isn’t what Brian Cashman or the Steinbrenner family had in mind when they shelled out a half billion dollars this past off season. McCann, who drew comparisons to none other than Thurman Munson, appears to be doing well behind the plate but his .222 BA isn’t quite up to par.

Other Yankees have been inconsistent as well. Soriano has also been streaky, but that’s an established career trait of his. Mark Teixeira has a BA under .250 after going 0-for-4 in Sunday’s game, but the Yankees will take that if his power numbers continue along their current pace.

The Yankees are in 2nd place in the A.L. East, 2.0 GB behind the streaking Toronto Blue Jays, and just 0.5 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles. That’s not a bad place to be this early in the year but it’s just as much a function of the struggling teams behind them as it is of the Yankees ability to win games.

The Yankees need to find some consistency and string together some wins. Preferably within the next 17 games before they are forced to yet again face their A.L. East opponents. That consistency needs to start with the offense.

The shoulders of Masahiro Tanaka and the rest of the pitching staff are only so broad and Jeter and the other former Yankee farmhands need some help in pulling this team forward.

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