Tuesday, May 17, 2005

We're going streaking!

Baseball media is awash again with the Yankees, this time after they won nine straight to correct their early season blip. Everyone overreacted during the losing skid, and I'm happy to say that looking back, I hedged on the "Fall of the Yankee Empire." I pointed out that Kevin Brown pitched better than his traditional stats bear out, and he turned in two solid performances during the streak (5 K, 3 ER, 0 BB 0 HR in 13 IP). I wish I had mentioned the fact that SOMEONE on their offense would wake up, though I would have been incredulous had someone told me then that it would be Tino Martinez. More than just Martinez though, the bats have woken up in the Bronx. Thanks to the amazing Day by Day Database at Baseball Musings, I found that 6 of the Yankees' 9 regulars had OBP over .400 and SLG over .500 during their winning streak: Martinez, Rodriguez, Posada, Jeter, Robinson Cano, and Sheffield. Matusi has a relatively pedestrian .289/.310/.395 line, but has managed to drive in 8 runs with all those singles, tied with Rodriguez for second most during the streak. Womack has been his usual below-average self at the plate, at .278/.316/.333, but the times he has gotten on base, he's been a terror, going 9 for 9 in stolen base attempts. Giambi has been the only dead weight during the entire streak, but when you get .419/.406/.613 (not a typo) from Robinson Cano, that weight doesn't matter.

So can this continue? Ominous signs--Tino can't possibly continue like this, can he? Probably not, though you've gotta give him credit for awakening his inner Constantino from 1997. Cano is the real paper tiger on that list. He drew no walks over the streak, which does not bode well for his bid to continue getting on base 4 out of 10 times. Good signs--the numbers for the other players are pretty much in line with what was expected of them this year. Posada should come down a bit as well, but Matsui should go up and offset. Jeter has finally started to draw walks again, and I wouldn't be surprised if he finished the year over .900 OPS. Sheffield and A-Rod are mashing like they're supposed to.

In conclusion, the Yankees aren't done--yet. They are an aging team, but age does not effect plate discipline and power in the same way it effects speed and defense. They still can't play defense, and that will hurt them with this non-strikeout oriented pitching staff (another ominous sign: Randy Johnson had 0 K's in his last start). But you don't need to play defense when you're smacking the ball all over the field against 2 teams in the bottom third of the major leagues in run differential. Let's see how the Yankees do when they come up against some stiffer competition...aka Boston on Memorial Day weekend.


Blogger David said...

Thanks for the link!

12:41 PM  

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