Heading into their American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles, many felt the New York Yankees would go as far as their highly regarded offence could carry them. Two games into the series and it appears as though that offence might just be what keeps them from advancing into the ALCS.
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Edmonton - October 9, 2012 - Heading into their American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles, many felt the New York Yankees would go as far as their vaunted offence could carry them. If the first two games against the O's are any indication, it appears as though that highly regarded offence is what might just keep them from advancing into the ALCS.
After receiving a brilliant performance from ace CC Sabathia in the series opener on Sunday night, veteran Andy Pettitte followed that up with a gem of his own, that should have seen the Yankees heading back home with a 2-0 series lead. Instead, they come home knotted up at a game apiece, thanks to a suddenly ice cold offence.
Two games into their ALDS, the Yanks have managed to knockout twenty hits...with seventeen of those being singles. Outside of Russell Martin's game winning home run in ninth inning of Game One, New York have all of two extra base hits, doubles off the bats of Ichiro Suzuki and Eduardo Nunez. Not exactly what one would expect from a team that led the big league's with 245 homers during the 162 game regualr season.
While team's rarely score at the same rate come playoff time, it's not as if they Yanks were facing Bob Gibson in the opening two games of the series. They managed all of four hits off Game One starter Jason Hammel in his five plus innings of work and followed that up with another weak effort against Wei-Yin Chen in Game Two.
After grabbing leads in the first inning of both games, the offence went cold. If you throughout their five run explosion in the ninth inning of the opener, the Yankees have scored all of two runs outside of the first inning. If not for that masterful display from Sabathia in Game One, they would be staring at an 0-2 deficit heading back to New York, with little hope.
While both Derek Jeter and Ichiro having been doing their job at the top of the order, it has been the heart of the order that has been quiet. Though Baltimore have been doing their best to not allow Robinson Cano to be the difference maker, the Yanks second bagger has still managed to knock in three runs over the first two games. Whereas, the likes of Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson continue coming up empty handed.
A-Rod has struckout five times in his ten trips to the plate, leaving seven runners on base, and looking over-matched when it matters most. While Granderson, who led the club with 43 homers during the season, is waving at pitches all over the place and found himself batting eighth in Game Two.
First baseman Mark Teixeira, who is coming off a calf injury that kept him out of the lineup for most of September, has looked good in ALDS...after doing nothing upon his return. With that being the case, the time to re-work the batting order has arrived. Waiting on the likes of Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Martin or Granderson to come up with the big hit at clutch time, would not exactly be the smartest move for Joe Girardi to make.
While Cano is the man that makes this lineup go, it is clear, that Jeter is one guy Girardi can still turn to at crunch time. As a friend of mine said during the ninth inning of last night's game, "This is where I really miss Hideki Matsui", is exactly why the time to move their All-Star shortstop down the order, is now.
With that clutch veteran bat missing from the middle of the order, perhaps having Ichiro leading off, followed by Swisher, Jeter, Cano, Teixeira, A-Rod and Granderson might be something worth looking into.Swisher is more than capable of hitting out of the two hole and it would allow the Yankees skip to use his three best hitters, in the heart of his lineup.
While most experts referred to the New York Yankees pitching staff as their so-called "weakness" heading into the post season, it has been the complete opposite. Having said that, with Hiroki Kuroda set to start Game Three in his Yankee Stadium playoff debut and the always inconsistent Phil Hughes as the projected Game Four starter, will that still be the case moving forward?
The bats need to come alive...and in a hurry.
Rob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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