This season, the Yankees’ offense has been an enigma. Despite being on pace to set a myriad of homerun records, the lineup’s struggles with runners in scoring position have reached equally history proportions. As a result, the 2012 Bronx Bombers have scored significantly fewer runs per game on both a real and relative basis when compared to recent seasons.
Although the approximately half run decline per game has not prevented the Yankees from maintaining a 98-win pace over the first half of the season, it has tightened the offensive distribution and margin of victory. In other words, Yankees’ fans haven’t been treated to many blowouts this year, at least not the amount to which they have grown accustomed.
Note: Blowout defined as a margin of 5 or more runs.
So far this season, the Yankees have only scored double-digit runs on three occasions, or more than only five other teams and one-quarter the amount of the Red Sox and Rangers. Should the team’s inability to surpass the 10-run plateau continue, it would represent the lowest percentage of double-digit outbursts by the offense since 1972, when the Yankees scored 3.6 runs per game. Even lowering the bar to seven runs per game puts the current Bronx Bombers in unflattering company. Not since 1992, the last time the Yankees were under .500, has the team scored seven runs at a lower than the current ball club.
Thanks to the combination of a revitalized rotation and one of the game’s best bullpens, the Yankees have been able to continue their winning ways without having the offense bludgeon the opposition. Considering the recent injuries to C.C. Sabathia and Andy Pettitte as well as a few signs of regression from the bullpen, however, the lineup may soon need to pick up the slack. Can the offense, as constituted, still carry the load when needed? That’s the question Brian Cashman must ask as the trade deadline nears because, if not, upgrading the offense might be preferable to reinforcing the pitching staff.