After a weekend series with the hated Boston Red Sox, the Yankees welcome the Baltimore Orioles to town in a battle for first place in the AL East. With the Yanks just a game back and the Red Sox near the cellar in the division, all is right in the baseball world for New Yorkers.
At least it seems that way.
The Yankees have been scoring runs almost at will during the course of the young season—except for yesterday when Josh Beckett summoned the Marlin inside him.
After eight games, the Bronx Bombers have scored a total of 50 runs, good enough for sixth best in the Majors. The scary part about that number is the fact that two-thirds of those runs have been accumulated from the long-ball.
Home runs are a rarity. Something that happens solely by mistake. Those who go up to the batters box looking to hit one over the fence will end up flying open, dipping their back shoulder and hitting a routine pop up to the second baseman.
Line drives and shots to the gaps are what hitters should be going up the plate looking to accomplish. This indicates effective and timely hitting. Balls hit to the gap lead to extra base hits and runners in scoring position.
The Yankees have 18 home runs as a team, which is three more than the amount of doubles and triples the team has. This is a sign of fluky and rather lucky hitting.
Another indication that this team is just merely catching breaks is the fact that their team batting average is twentieth in the league at .236. In fact, only three of the Yankee regulars—Cano, Rodriguez and Martin—are hitting over .219. For a team that is looking for their offense to help right the ship, this is far from a boost of confidence.
For comparison, the Texas Rangers are another team who is looking to rely on their offense to propel them this season with question marks in their rotation. The Rangers also have hit 18 home runs as a team, but they have also totaled 22 combined triples and doubles. Their team batting average at .273 is eighth best in the league and only four of their regular starters are hitting below .240.
In order to win games, you need timely hits. Home runs look great on highlights and can give your team a quick boost, but in reality, heavy reliance on something that hitters look at as a mistake will only lead to problems down the road.
Right now the Yankees are winning because they have the ability to hit balls over the fence, but this is only a quick fix for something that could become a lengthy problem.