It’s been a struggle for the Yankees since losing Alex Rodriguez to injury. The team has struggled to fill the void in their lineup. That’s normally what happens when a team loses one of its big bats. However it’s not the power numbers of Rodriguez that the Yankees are missing, it’s his presence in the lineup.
Rodriguez is missed greatly right now by the Yankees for reasons that are much more than his 15 home runs this season. His ability to work a pitch count and get on base doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. His right-handed bat provided balance in the middle of the Yankees lineup.
One of the domino effects from losing Rodriguez was manager Joe Girardi moving left-handed hitting Curtis Granderson to leadoff so it would help balance the lineup easier. That move didn’t work out too well for Granderson who strikes out too much and has seemed more comfortable in any spot except leadoff going 2-for-20 on the season in that position.
What can’t be ever ignored is that Rodriguez is still a dangerous hitter. His power numbers are down; however his mere presence in the lineup changes an opposing team’s game plan when trying to pitch to him, Granderson, Robinson Cano or Mark Teixeira.
Girardi has also had to roll the dice on increased playing time for his role players. He already had to do this in the outfield due to Brett Gardner‘s season-ending injury. It’s now the infield depth that’s been tested since Rodriguez went down. Eric Chavez has done an admirable job this season, and is on a red-hot streak; however everyone knows he’s at that stage in his career where he requires the occasional rest. The Yankees have to be nervous he doesn’t get injured out there playing this much. Jayson Nix and newcomer Casey McGehee has also stepped in and helped at third base. The bottom line though is that none of them completely measure up to Rodriguez.
We spend so much time marveling at how great the Yankees lineup can be it’s easy to overlook the intangibles that play an important role in making it explosive. Rodriguez hopes to be back in September, just in time for the final push for the playoffs. The Yankees don’t need the fireworks from Rodriguez, although that would be greatly welcomed. They have the dynamite already; all they need now is their blasting cap back.