Apr 12, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann (34) hugs right fielder Ichiro Suzuki (31) in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run against the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Brian McCann Breaks Out Of Slump At Right Time

Yankees’ catcher Brian McCann seems to have put his early struggles behind him as he crushed two home runs in Saturday’s 7-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Going into Saturday’s game, the Bombers new backstop was only 6-for-37 on the young season and only three of those hits came after the opening series in Houston.

McCann’s newfound power stroke couldn’t have come at a better time for the Yankees because after the series finale against the Red Sox, they host the Cubs for two games and then go on the road for four games against the pitching-rich Tampa Bay Rays and three games at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. Then the Yankees return to the Bronx for three games against the Angels, another three against Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners, and wrap up the home stand with the Rays before heading to Anaheim to face the Angels and then to Milwaukee to play the Brewers.

Except for the Cubs, these teams are not easy to defeat and if McCann struggles, he creates an almost fatal hole in the middle of the Yankees lineup.

Even though Jacoby Ellsbury has been everything the Yankees had hoped for and Derek Jeter is beginning to rack up more hits, neither of them are run producers.

Aside from 2011, when Ellsbury drove in 105 runs and slugged .552, his highest RBI total with the Red Sox was 60 and his slugging percentage never eclipsed .430. Jeter’s RBI total has been on the decline for a while. In 2010, Jeter drove in 67 runs and by 2012 his total had dropped to 58. His slugging percentage hasn’t reached the .430 mark since 2009, when he was 35. Brett Gardner, who sometimes bats leadoff or hits out of the second spot, only eclipsed 50 RBI and slugged .400 or better for the first time last season. These are not middle-of-the-order hitters.

In order for Ellsbury, Jeter, and Gardner to score there need to be players like Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran who are paid to produce runs.

Author’s Note: This will be my last post for Yanks Go Yard, as I am moving to another Fansided website, Empire Writes Back, where I will be working as both an editor and contributing writer. To continue following my work, that is where you should go. I look forward to hearing all of your comments and feedback. Thank you.

~Jacob Winters

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