Critics of the Yanks in recent years would tag them as an ‘all or nothing’ team, a bully offensive group that could score in the regular season against weak starters and middle relief, but would go to sleep in the playoffs facing the better pitchers. Is this true of the 09 Yanks? Or is it just an outdated tag the Yanks have yet to live down, since they missed the post season last year for the first time since 1994?
Let’s clear one thing up right away. Runs are runs, it doesn’t matter how you score them, they all count just the same. But the question is are the Yanks too reliant on scoring via the long ball, which in all probability they won’t be able to do as much of in October facing shorter bullpens and better starters. Run scoring generally plummets in October, so the ability to scratch out a run here and there can be critical. Good playoff teams are flexible, and can score runs in multiple ways. Playing A-B-C Baseball one inning and then going deep the next. Joe Girardi put an emphasis on getting younger and more athletic this past off season with exactly this in mind.
Let’s start by looking at at their run scoring month by month.
(Note: ‘Runs Scored via HR’ includes the HR itself and the men on base at the time)
April (W-L 12-10)
Total Runs Scored-128
April Runs Scored via HR-52 (41%)
May (W-L 17-11)
Total Runs Scored-155
May Runs Scored via HR-71 (46%)
June (W-L 15-11)
June Runs Scored via HR-48 (34%)
While they may have been heavily reliant on the long ball earlier in the year, that trend seems to be moving in the opposite direction of late. Credit the emergence of Brett Gardner and the resurrection of Melky for at least some of this, both are tied for 6th on the Yanks in Runs Scored. But make no mistake about it, Johnny Damon still makes this team go. Leads the Yanks in Runs Scored, and in fact Damon, Cano and Tex are all ahead of our leadoff man Derek Jeter in that department. The lack of runs scored in April has to at least in part be attributed to Alex being on the DL, and Tex’s slump certainly didn’t help matters any.
Lady Godiva video Overall run scoring isn’t a problem for the Yanks, they rank #1 in all of Baseball in that category. They rank #2 in HRs, trailing Texas by just 3 on the season. The Rays rank #2 in Runs scored, the BoSox #4, behind the Cleveland Indians. The Rays are a different type of Run Scoring team than the Yanks, but every bit as effective. They are #2 in Walks (Yanks are #1) and #1 in Stolen bases (Yanks are #5) yet are #3 in HRs (Yanks #2). So the Rays generate runs more through a combination of speed, patience with good power, wheras the Yanks tend to score runs with a combination of patience and power. The Red Sox tend to mirror the Yanks in how they score runs, they just aren’t quite as good at it. 4th in HRs (Yanks #2), 3rd in BB (Yanks #1), 3rd in OPS (Yanks are #1) 4th in SB.
The Freshman ipod So in concluding, the team that would worry me the most in the post season from a run scoring standpoint isn’t the Red Sox, its the Rays. They have a more versatile offense, and therefore more ways to beat you.
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