And the list of frustrating events continues to mount. Phil Hughes throws this straight fastball and is either moderately successful or crashes and burns spectacularly. Derek Jeter, after an unbelievable start, has had the predictable regression and has a pedestrian .699 OPS for the month of May and has hit into six double plays this month. And yet he still second of the regulars in wOBA. While it is nice that all things considered, Jeter is having a fine season, if, with this offense, he is second on the team in wOBA, the team has a problem.
And yes, the Yankees can score runs in bunches. The team has scored six or more runs in 21 different contests. They have lost only one of those games. But they have also scored two runs or less in sixteen contests and have only won two of those. They are still without a win in games without hitting a homer. They are 0-11 in such contests. The Yankees were 20-24 in such games last season.
And we haven’t even talked about the pitching yet. Well, Phil Hughes was mentioned. But make no mistake about it, the starting rotation has not been very good. Just look at the homers per nine inning rates. When a homer per nine innings is considered on the high side, here is how the starters have fared: Sabathia (1.1), Kuroda (1.5), Nova (1.9), Hughes (2.1), Pettitte (1.9), Garcia (1.6) and Phelps (1.4). Those numbers are just killers. Only two teams in the American League have given up more homers than the Yankees.
Last year, the Yankees allowed 0.9 homers per nine innings and 8.8 hits per those same nine innings. This year, the team’s homers per nine sits at 1.3. The hits per nine sits at 9.2. The staff’s ERA of 4.11 pales in comparison to last year’s 3.73.
The silver lining here is that despite spinning around and going nowhere, the Yankees are still only two and a half games behind in the American League East. The law of averages seems to indicate that the pathetic bases loaded situation will turn itself around. The pitching staff will sort itself out. This still feels like a team that can get on a roll. They just need a few more big hits in key situations and the pitching staff needs to keep the ball in the yard. Despite playing mediocre baseball, the Yankees are still right within striking distance and only a hot streak away from getting back on top. Perhaps that is wishful thinking. Perhaps not. The next couple of months will tells us.