Should the Yankees be worried about their slumbering bats?


The New York Yankees are a team predicated on offense. When the offense rolls they win. When it sleeps, they don’t. The Yankees are not hitting, and they’re failing because of it. Should they be worried going forward?

In short the answer is yes. They aren’t hitting with the bases empty, they’re not hitting with runners in scoring position. They have accumulated 3 runs on 8 hits in the last two games. Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira account for half of those hits. That leaves the remainder of the team with 4 hits in their last 45 at-bats.

Tuesday it was rookie Wei-Yin Chen who put the Yankees’ bats to sleep. The excuse they hadn’t faced him before couldn’t be used as this was their second meeting against the Taiwanese import. It took them sixth full innings to hit the ball hard off of him. He’s having a fine year, but he’s not touted to be the equivalent to Japan’s Yu Darvish either.

Last night it was Kyle Drabek. Again, a young promising pitcher. But, he was also a struggling pitcher (8 ER in his last 9.1 IP)…until last night. To make matters worse, the Yankees entered the game with success against Drabek.

Tonight, it may not get better as they face Toronto rookie Drew Hutchison, who they have yet to hit against. New pitchers give the veteran crew a run for their money virtually every time the circumstance arises, so tonight may not be the night the bats awake.

As we look deeper into the issue, it goes beyond the last two games. The Yankees as a group are hitting .258 with a .780 OPS over their last seven games. Here is a chart showing players with a minimum 9 plate appearances covering the same stretch of time.

Derek Jeter has cooled down significantly. Raul Ibanez had one good game among the seven or else he would be in Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson territory. Forget the fact that Russell Martin hasn’t hit all year (.172, 16-for-93) the 1-for-20 slide is atrocious. Alex Rodriguez may be hitting .280 during the stretch, but he’s got zero home runs and zero RBIs during the span. Right now these men are not the Bronx Bombers.

There is no doubt this team is in the hitting doldrums at the moment. What’s worse, it has yet to occur where a majority of the team is simultaneously hitting well. Jeter, Swisher and Granderson were hot to start the season. Now Cano and maybe even Teixeira is heating up. But the team has yet to put a string of games together where a majority of the lineup is clicking on all cylinders.

The Yankees never need to have the entire lineup on fire because of the number of talented players they have, but it would be better if at least half of them were performing to expectations. This way they can carry the remainder of the lineup and the others would reciprocate eventually.

Two or three decent hitters at a time cannot carry a team, at least not for the long haul. More importantly, the Yankees are built around their offense, not their pitching. No matter what Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says about pitching being first, he has assembled a roster that needs to score 5 runs a game to win. Further, the lineup now takes on increased importance with the back end of the bullpen in shambles.

Should the Yankees be worried about their bats? Yes, they should. But they don’t need to panic just yet either. The good news is that these are all accomplished hitters. While some of them may not be as productive as they were years ago, they are still fully capable of ripping off hot streaks at the plate. Question is, can they do it at the same time for a lengthy period and string some wins together?