Just a few random thoughts after a late night of too much rain and not nearly enough runs….
• Can’t imagine that I have to tell anyone that the Yankees offense is a mess right now. Slumps happen, but only one run in five of the past seven games? That’s unbelievable. Since May 20, the Yankees have scored more than four runs only once. And this time there’s no offensive help that’s particularly close to coming off the disabled list. The Yankees have not been a particularly good offensive team for quite some time now, but at this very moment, the lineup is brutal and the only way to fix it is for the current guys to start hitting.
• Of all people, it’s Ichiro Suzuki who’s been the Yankees best hitter the past week. Two weeks ago, it seemed he might be heading for fourth-outfielder status.
• Three games mean next to nothing in the course of a baseball season, but the Yankees were hoping for an immediate impact from Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis, and it really hasn’t happened. Both have gotten off to rough starts since coming off the disabled list, especially Teixeira who’s already stuck out seven times in three games. Again, way too early to draw any conclusions, but it’s hard not to notice.
• A quick bit of trivia: On the Yankees current active roster, which players have the three highest batting averages? Robinson Cano is the obvious and correct answer for the top spot, but the next two are — amazingly enough — Brennan Boesch and Chris Stewart. The Yankees third-highest batting average is .262, and they don’t have an active player hitting better than .290.
• It’s going to be interesting to see if Andy Pettitte changes his between-starts routine in the wake of this season’s back injuries. He’s considering cutting back to just one bullpen between starts because it should lessen his workload and, in theory, help keep him healthy. “Truthfully, I don’t know,” Pettitte said. “I’m used to doing two bullpens (between starts). We’ll just see how it goes. Right now I’d probably say, probably not. I feel like if I feel good, I’m going to want to throw my bullpens because I enjoy being on the mound and I enjoy working.”
• This might sound crazy, but Jayson Nix has been an underrated offensive contributor this season. Clearly he’s not a particularly good hitter, but for a team that has needed offensive help from the right side, Nix has hit .300 with a .406 on-base percentage against lefties. He’s hit for no power, and his numbers against righties are ugly, but he’s filled a hole on defense and provided a very specific need on offense.
• David Phelps gets his shot at redemption on Tuesday. When Phil Hughes failed to pitch out of the first inning last month, he returned to allow two runs through six innings. The Yankees would certainly be happy with that from Phelps.
• I like Austin Romine, and I realize he’s been shoved into a tough situation without many at-bats, but he hasn’t exactly forced Joe Girardi to give him more opportunities. He had a hit and threw out a base runner last night, which might make that his best game since the call-up.
• Next time the Yankees have to open a 40-man spot, isn’t Melky Mesa the easy guy to cut? The tools are outstanding, but at this point it’s nearly impossible to believe he’ll ever make enough contact to actually put those tools to use. The guy already has 85 strikeouts this season, and it’s not like this unusual for him.
• Speaking of Triple-A outfielders, keep an eye on Thomas Neal. He spent some time on the DL, but he’s active again and up to 137 at-bats with a .343/.435/.460 slash line. He was a pretty big prospect just a few years ago, and he got some big league time with the Indians last season. He’s also right-handed, which doesn’t hurt in this organization. I wouldn’t rule him out as a big league option at some point.
• A random question: Where does Joba Chamberlain fall on the bullpen depth chart right now? We know the closer, the setup man and the left-hander. But against a tough right-handed hitter in the seventh inning, who would you trust most, Chamberlain, Shawn Kelley or Preston Claiborne? Who would you trust least?
• At this point, my guess is that the Yankees will DFA Lyle Overbay this afternoon. He’s been terrific, but he just doesn’t have a role and I don’t think the Yankees will leave themselves short-handed in the bullpen, at shortstop, in the outfield or against left-handed pitching just to keep injury insurance for Teixeira and Travis Hafner.
Associated Press photos