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Alex Rodriguez is undoubtedly a distraction for the New York Yankees, but he's still very productive. The polarizing slugger has batted .279/.426/.535 in September with more walks than strikeouts.
A less surprising source of power, Robinson Cano has slugged .559 to drive home 14 runs in as many games.
The biggest knock against the Yankees lineup is its collective impatience at the plate. According to FanGraphs, this team has swung at the sixth-highest percentage of pitches outside the strike zone in the past few weeks, thus allowing opponents to exert less energy. Chasing so often has helped Jon Lester and Chris Tillman (among others) to stay on the mound into the later innings.
Pitching Staff: F
Bill James' Game Score statistic shows how downright mediocre New York's rotation has been during this all-important month.
A pitcher begins with 50 points and gets rewarded for surviving deep into his starts and amassing strikeouts. Allowing runs or baserunners results in the subtraction of points. With a few exceptions, scores vary from 0 to 100.
That brings us to the Yankees, whose starters haven't posted a Game Score above 60 in 13 September attempts. To put that in perspective, Ubaldo Jimenez has single-handedly produced three 60-plus performances in the same span.
The relief pitching is struggling to an even greater degree.
Mariano Rivera has blown two saves and opponents boast a 1.184 OPS against setup man David Robertson in four appearances. Preston Claiborne has an astronomical 30.86 earned run average this month.
Collectively, the bullpen is pitching below replacement level when it can least afford to.
The Yankees constructed their 2013 roster under the assumption that the real Derek Jeter would emerge at some point.
Now, we know that won't be the case. After only 17 games and a .190/.288/.254 batting line, the captain has been shut down for the season with persistent pain in his ankle.
Leadoff hitter Brett Gardner played in 145 of the first 147 games this season, contributing as a great baserunner and outfielder. However, a mild oblique strain threatens to end his season prematurely.
Due to a nagging hamstring problem, A-Rod might spend the rest of the regular season as a designated hitter, according to manager Joe Girardi (h/t Chad Jennings, LoHud.com). That will mean regularly using a lesser offensive player at third base.
Backup catcher Austin Romine is steadily working his way back from a concussion, according to the YES Network's Meredith Marakovits, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that southpaw Boone Logan may have turned a corner. He's trying to recover from inflammation in his elbow and biceps.
Every lost series is another nail in New York's coffin. Recent struggles against the Boston Red Sox have reduced the already-slim odds of a postseason berth.
The Yankees are 7-7 in September, but it's a very unconvincing 7-7.