Offense Blues

August 18, 2008 – 4:03 pm

Here’s a quick analysis of runs scored per game by year for the Yankees:

Runs Scored Games Pct W L Win Pct
0-4 62 .383 12 50 .194
5+ 100 .617 81 19 .810
0-4 66 .532 21 45 .318
5+ 58 .468 45 13 .776
2008 projected:
0-4 86 .532 27 59 .318
5+ 76 .468 59 17 .776

Last year they were held to four or fewer runs 38% of the time. This year that stat is a whopping 53% — over half the time this team scores less than five runs. The table also highlights just how valuable the pitching has been this year. Last year their winning percentage in low-scoring games was .194, but this year it’s an amazing .318. If you applied last year’s winning percentage (.194) to this year’s number of low-scoring games (66) you would have only 13 wins in those situations rather than the 21 wins they do have. That would be eight more games in the loss column, which would mean that right now the Yankees would be in last place in the division! Someone, somewhere deserves some major kudos for how the pitching has worked out, in spite of all the injuries.

So where did the hitting go? There are a lot of ways to slice and dice that — here’s a quick analysis of hitting by position:

Position 2007 BA 2008 BA Diff
C .320 .240 -0.080
1B .279 .236 -0.043
2B .304 .261 -0.043
3B .304 .292 -0.012
SS .310 .294 -0.016
LF .303 .299 -0.004
CF .270 .259 -0.011
RF .280 .281 0.001
DH .245 .297 0.052

It all really comes down to three positions — catcher where clearly Posada’s loss hurt, second base where Cano’s poor first-half was a killer, and first base where Giambi and the rest of the cast there haven’t performed nearly as well as last year. Pretty much all the other positions are pushes. You can moan and groan all you want about Melky in center, but the reality is that position didn’t really hurt the Yankees offensively. Looking back, though, it was totally unrealistic to expect Posada to repeat his 2007 year, and Giambi’s slide shouldn’t have been all that unexpected. So that really leaves Cano’s poor year as the only real disappointment. In hindsight, though, you probably could have seen an off-year coming offensively. There really weren’t any positions where you could have hoped for significant improvement — about all you could do is hope everyone would perform at their 2007 level. Which clearly didn’t happen.

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