When the Yankees left Baltimore on Easter Sunday, the team was riding a three-game winning streak into what was shaping up to be one of the weakest stretches on the schedule. At the time, the offense was averaging a whopping six runs per game and the starting rotation was rounding into form, so it seemed like the Yankees were a sure bet to build upon their five game loss column lead over the Red Sox and Rays.
Unfortunately, just when it looked as if the Yankees were ready to take off, their offense went south. In the 16 games played since April 24, the Bronx Bombers have averaged only 4.2 runs, and even that amount is inflated. Excluding two games in which they scored 12 runs, the Yankees have barely scored more than three runs per contest.
At the beginning of the year, the offense was expected to carry the team, but instead, the pitchers have shouldered the burden. As the offense has sputtered, the pitching staff has risen to the occasion by limiting the opposition to only 55 runs. Because of their stinginess, the Yankees have managed to eke out a .500 record during this stretch. However, by losing half those games, the Yankees have squandered a chance to take advantage of a soft spot in the schedule.
To be fair, the Yankees’ offense really hasn’t been that bad over the past two weeks. In fact, statistically speaking, it’s actually been pretty good. Over the last 14 days, the Bronx Bombers are second in all of baseball with a wOBA of .351 and first with an OBP of .363. In other words, the Yankees have not suffered from a lack of opportunities to score; they just haven’t been able to capitalize on them.
Yankees Offensive Performance, April 28 to May 11
Although it’s a cliché, the Yankees offensive malaise has been the result of a collective inability to get the big hit. Over the last 14 games, the team’s -WPA of 10.10 ranks fifth worst in all of baseball, meaning the Yankees have not only failed often, but when they have, it’s usually been in a big way. Making matters even more difficult, it’s not like only one or two players have failed to come through in the clutch. With the exception of Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner, no one in the starting lineup has added a meaningful positive win probability.
In honor of the late Bill Gallo, it’s fair to say that the Yankees’ lineup has had too many goats and not enough heroes over the past two weeks. The good news, however, is the team’s fundamental data seems to be improving, and if proven performers like Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada can rebound from periods of epic futility, the days of six runs per game may not be too far ahead. The Yankees need that turnaround to occur sooner than later, however, because starting this weekend the schedule starts to get more difficult.
Wearing the Horns: Players with the Lowest WPA in Yankees’ Losses
|Brett Gardner||4/3/2011||DET||L 7-10||-0.202|
|Brett Gardner||4/5/2011||MIN||L 4-5||-0.091|
|Derek Jeter||4/8/2011||BOS||L 6-9||-0.119|
|Brett Gardner||4/10/2011||BOS||L 0-4||-0.17|
|Russell Martin||4/15/2011||TEX||L 3-5||-0.168|
|Brett Gardner||4/19/2011||TOR||L 5-6||-0.181|
|Derek Jeter||4/25/2011||CHW||L 0-2||-0.173|
|Alex Rodriguez||4/26/2011||CHW||L 2-3||-0.226|
|Alex Rodriguez||4/29/2011||TOR||L 3-5||-0.353|
|Robinson Cano||5/3/2011||DET||L 2-4||-0.17|
|Curtis Granderson||5/4/2011||DET||L 0-4||-0.087|
|Mark Teixeira||5/5/2011||DET||L 3-6||-0.15|
|Russell Martin||5/7/2011||TEX||L 5-7||-0.189|
|Derek Jeter||5/11/2011||KCR||L 3-4||-0.301|