To say the New York Yankees are underachieving this season would be a major understatement.
After a 13-9 record in April, the Yankees had a tumultuous May. They finished the month with a .500 record (14-14), but they missed several opportunities to win more.
The Yanks, who began the season with three straight losses to the Tampa Bay Rays, woke up and enjoyed a successful finish to the season’s first month.
They entered May 1.5 games back of first place and remarkably finished the month in the same spot. They can thank the Baltimore Orioles and Rays for slumping as well. The entire AL East is now separated by a total of 2.5 games with the Yankees sitting in the middle of the pack.
The Yanks have yet to put together a lengthy win streak, with five games being their season high. They have, however, had four separate three-game losing streaks on the season. Last season they had a total of five losing streaks of three games or more.
The problem in one word has been consistency. When the rotation was suffering through much of April, it was the offense that kept the team afloat. When the offense was limping along, the rotation picked up the pace. The bullpen has been the most dependable component of the team.
Let’s review each aspect of the team’s performance to date in greater depth.
There have been a couple of pleasant surprises among the larger inadequacies of this lineup. Derek Jeter is hitting .336 and leads the American League in hits with 72. Despite being written off numerous times in the past couple years, he’s having a banner season. He’s passing Hall of Famer’s on the all-time hit list seemingly once a week. He now owns 3,159 hits in his illustrious career with Cal Ripken Jr. next on the list.
Another shock has been the play of Raul Ibanez, who was signed toward the end of the offseason with the intention of using him as a left-handed option at DH. Due to the injury to Brett Gardner, Ibanez has had to play more in the outfield than the Yankees figured he would. He has responded at the plate. He’s hitting .268 with 9 homers and 28 RBI. His .543 slugging percentage is just behind team leader Curtis Granderson (.549).
Granderson has been a major contributor at the plate. He leads the team in home runs with 16 and runs with 34. His .908 OPS is also tops for the team. Granderson has yet to sit a game this season, as Garnder’s injury is limited manager Joe Girardi’s options. When the Yankees need a timely hit, it has been more often Granderson providing the fireworks.
The rest of the lineup has epitomized the up and down season. Robinson Cano had 1 HR and 4 RBI through May 5th. He has since turned it on, hitting 7 home runs and driving in 14. He is tied for first in the AL with 18 doubles. He was hitting at a season low .226 batting average on 4/13 and then got it as high as .310. He sits at .286 after yesterday’s game.
Alex Rodriguez has yet to show much power beyond a two-homer game on May 23rd. Those are two of the three homers he hit in the month. He has a total of 7 on the season with only 19 RBI. His .794 OPS ranks sixth on the team.
Mark Teixeira battled a bronchial infection and a resulting cough for much of the season which depleted much of his strength. It is difficult to say how much of his swoon up until last week was due to the infection or his perennially slow starts. Tex is not hitting for average, he hasn’t since 2009, but is still productive enough to see that he can reach the 30 HR/100 RBI mark this season, especially if his current uptick continues.
Nick Swisher started out the season with a bang, hitting .284 with 6 homers and 23 RBI. His May performance was completely the opposite; .207, 2 HR and 9 RBI.
Russell Martin has been a shell of himself so far this season at the plate. It shouldn’t be mistaken that he is here for his offense, but hitting .186 is not what he or the Yankees have in mind when it comes to his production with the bat. He continues to be behind the plate because of his work with the pitching staff and on the assumption that things just have to get better for him eventually.
The biggest problem, detailed here earlier today is the Yankees inability to score with runners on base and worse when in scoring position. This has been a collective issue through out the season. (continued)