The Yankees jumped on Jeremy Guthrie right off the bat, picking up two quick runs in the top of the first and never looking back en route to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Wednesday night.
The Yankees would pick up seven runs off Guthrie (six earned), more than enough for starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia went 7 2/3 innings, striking out five and giving up three runs, all of which felt fairly cheap and may not have even been plated had Sabathia not had such a big lead to work with.
Seriously, was there anyone who thought the outcome of this game was in doubt once the Yanks jumped to a 5-0 lead in the second with their ace on the hill? As per RAB, their win percentage was already at 87.3% after Nick Swisher’s two-run triple. While nothing in baseball is set in stone, you have to like your chances for a victory with CC Sabathia on the hill staked to a five-run lead.
The Yankees pounded out a season-high 15 hits, paced by the bottom of the order, as Curtis Granderson picked up two much-needed hits, Swisher had a second consecutive three-hit day and Brett Gardner added two hits of his own. Robinson Cano continued his torrid hitting, and in picking up two more hits (including his team-leading 6th home run of the season) he raised his Major League-leading batting average to .390. Damn, Robbie.
Nick the Stick had an RBI base hit and a walk (surprisingly, this was the Yankees’ only base on balls of the game — the Orioles actually had two walks. I’d gripe about wanting the team to show more patience, although it’s silly to complain about walks when the offense is pounding out 15 hits), but also struck out looking twice. I know Stick will come around, but it’d really be great to see him pick up a multi-hit game.
Derek Jeter led the game off with a double and picked up another hit, but had a fairly quiet rest of the game. I know Jeter loves swinging away, but would it kill the Captain to take a few more pitches and walk his way on base a few more times? Derek only has three walks this season, and an OBP of .333 — that’s venturing near Jimmy Rollins territory, and not what I want to see out of the leadoff spot.
Mark Teixeira continues to struggle, although he did pick up a late hit and hit another ball hard but right at the left fielder. Tex is statistically on his way to the worst April of his career, although if there’s anything Yankee fans can take solace in is that he has the second-lowest BABIP in all of baseball. We know that won’t hold up.
Alex Rodriguez continued his quiet slump. No one seems to be talking about Rod (oddly enough) but after getting his numbers up to where they should be a week ago he has cooled off considerably. He’s been hitting some balls on the screws–always a good sign–but I am a touch
concerned at the lack of power thus far. I know the power hasn’t actually gone anywhere, but Alex had 7 bombs through 20 games last year compared to just two this year.
In fact, the entire top four batters in the Yankee lineup are significantly underperforming, at least when compared to their numbers through their first 20 games of 2009:
Derek Jeter through the first 20 games of 2009: .294/.355/.482
Derek Jeter through the first 20 games of 2010: .306/.333/.459
Nick Johnson through the first 20 games of 2009: .333/.407/.444
Nick Johnson through the first 20 games of 2010: .143/.385/.232
Mark Teixeira through the first 20 games of 2009: .206/.363/.381
Mark Teixeira through the first 20 games of 2010: .133/.293/.253
Alex Rodriguez through his first 20 games of 2009: .257/.409/.614
Alex Rodriguez through the first 20 games of 2010: .260/.356/.455
With the exception of Jeter, those are some uncharacteristically ugly slugging percentages right there. Nick the Walk’s OBP is nice, but all of these guys are not getting on as frequently as we’d like.
The fact that the team is 13-7 while getting relatively minimal production from the top four slots in the lineup is crazy, and also terrible news for the rest of the league.