It’s no secret the Yankee offense has been in something of a funk lately. They’ve scored 4 runs or less in 8 of the past 10 games, including a particularly weak total of 5 runs in a 3 game set against the Tigers. To be sure, last night’s game was on Joba and the recent losing streak has been a combination of bad defense and a bad start from Nova, but this Yankee offense hasn’t done much lately to overcome those problems. While overall lineups can often be over rated, groupings of hitters is important. So lets take a quick look at last night’s lineup and see if there’s anything that could use some tweaking. (courtesy of ESPN)
|D Jeter SS||5||1||1||0||0||1||23||.268||.314||.331|
|C Granderson CF||5||1||2||1||0||2||18||.275||.347||.626|
|M Teixeira 1B||5||0||0||0||0||1||22||.252||.381||.528|
|A Rodriguez 3B||3||0||1||0||1||1||15||.261||.360||.478|
|R Cano 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||11||.285||.315||.547|
|N Swisher RF||3||0||1||0||1||2||18||.221||.338||.311|
|J Posada DH||4||1||1||0||0||0||17||.165||.272||.349|
|R Martin C||4||1||1||2||0||2||13||.255||.356||.510|
|B Gardner LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||15||.260||.353||.413|
First thing that jumps out at me is Jeter. If someone named Joe Smith was producing at that level, he’d be hitting at the bottom of the lineup. Now of course, Derek has a 15 year resume that has to be factored in, but those who want to argue ‘its just a slow start’ must have missed the 2008 and 2010 seasons. More and more, 2009 appears to be the outlier with Derek. Watching his ABs this year and last, he certainly looks like a player whose best days are behind him.
Brett Gardner has been one of the Yanks hottest hitters, hitting .414/.541/.483 in the last 14 days, and .321/.433/.554 in the last 28 days (h/t IATMS). He’s earned a return to the top of the Yankee order. At first glance Russell Martin also seems way too low, given his production this year. But he’s been cold the past few weeks. After a red hot start, Martin has slumped and has just 8 hits in his past 51 ABs (.158).
Simply batting Gardner first seems to solve a few issues. It pushes Swisher and Posada down to 7 and 8, with Martin’s good on base skills and above average speed at the bottom of the lineup for the double leadoff effect they now enjoy with Gardner. But if you bat Gardner leadoff and leave Derek at #2, what do you do with Granderson? The #3 rightfully belongs to Tex, and the 3-5 is pretty set on the Yanks. Curtis is one of the best Yankee hitters, you want to give him as many ABs as possible. Again, Derek becomes the obstacle to grouping your best hitters together and making your lineup optimal.
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