Yankee detractors can make the solid argument that Yankee fans are insane because the Yankees have the best offense in baseball, which is a fair point. But the counter-point this Yankee fan would make is that Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson have all had subpar offensive seasons. Imagine what the team could do if all its offensive gears were well oiled!
The team came back from the All-Star break and gave us all a glimmer of hope that the offense would come together in the second half. The Bombers pounded the ball on their nine-game homestand. With the exception of a two-run performance against the Angels and a four-run Saturday against the Royals, the Yankee offense put up anywhere between 5 and 12 runs in Yankee Stadium. Heck, even the struggling Curtis Granderson got in on the action.
Then the boys went to Cleveland. Sure, the team won the first game of the series, but it managed only three runs in that game and it took two home runs to do it. And let’s not relive Tuesday’s debacle.
To anyone paying close attention to the team’s home-road splits, the offensive drought to start the series in Cleveland shouldn’t have been a surprise. Here’s why:
The above is the lineup the Yankees have used the most this season. The following players on that list have hit well on the road this year: Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano. That is all.
The Yankees throw up a completely different lineup at home. In the Bronx they really are the Bombers. Curtis Granderson and Francisco Cervelli are their worst hitters, and even they’re not so bad in New York. But the real standouts are the guys who have been having subpar seasons: A-Rod, Tex and Jeter. At home those guys have been…A-Rod! Tex! And Jeter!
Take these guys out of the Stadium, and the lineup dissolves. Tex and A-Rod have been, at best, average on the road. Derek, meanwhile, defies description. I’d rather grant the opposition an out for his at-bats to avoid all the double plays he bounces into. But the pain doesn’t stop there. Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner fall apart on the road as well, especially Jorge, who I’m willing to let bat outside the Bronx, but only on the condition he try to draw a walk every time. For those who wonder why the team puts up a lot of National League scores when they leave home, there’s the answer.
Fortunately, the Yankees can pitch, which is why they are actually an excellent road team. Their 29-20 record away from home translates to a .592 winning percentage, which equals about 96 wins over 162 games. In all of baseball, only the Rays are better, at 33-18 on the road (shockingly, the Rays are better on the road than at home, where they sport a 28-20 record). So, despite their offensive struggles away from home, the Yankees are still the second-best road team in the game. But, man, imagine if that offense started clicking!