There's been a major power shortage in the middle of the Yankee lineup so far this season. If the team weren't still winning ballgames, and if the rotation didn't have its own issues, it would probably be a bigger a story. Guys like Robbie Cano and A-Rod get a little leeway because of their track records, especially with Cano starting to break out last night. For Mark Teixeira, however, the situation might not be so cushy. As we all know by now, Teix is coming off 3 straight years of declining production and the devolution to an all-or-nothing power hitter from the left side of the plate, a far cry from his not-so-long-ago heyday as one of the best all-around hitters in baseball. Teix spent plenty of time this past offseason working on his swing from the left side to help right some of the wrongs he's developed over the last 3 years of swinging for the short porch, but so far that has not translated into a whole lot of success at the plate. Some people might be ready to push the panic button on him, but looking a little deeper at the numbers, I don't see a reason to be concerned just yet.
Of Teixeira's 12 hits so far this year, 7 have come from the left side of the plate and 5 have come from the right. He only has 3 XBH hits, all of them doubles, and all 3 of those have come as a lefty. That translates into a .333 SLG, .067 ISO, and .316 wOBA. In sample sizes as small as these, there's not a whole lot to be taken from those stats, unattractive as they may be. The contact and walk/strikeout rates can tell a little more as they speak to changes in Teix's approach, and positive changes at that.
(With a Yankee loss and Ranger loss on the same night, I looked the same way around 10:30 PM. Courtesy of The AP)
With CC starting to come around in the later innings of start on Tuesday night and Kuroda coming off a gem last Friday, the top of the Yankee rotation appeared to be settling in. It didn't take long for Kuroda to be unsettled last night.
- Things should have been looking up for Hiroki Kuroda after his Yankee Stadium debut last Friday, when he was absolutely brilliant. He was anything but last night and it started immediately in the top of the 1st when he allowed 4 ER on 5 hits against the first 6 batters he faced.
- Kuroda was much better in the 2nd, and in the 4th, but he gave up another run in the 3rd inning and another in the 5th on Justin Morneau's 2nd HR of the game and that was it for Kuroda. His sinker was absolutely horrible all night; he couldn't get it down at all and the Twins just killed it, Morneau in particular.
- The Yankee offense did their damnedest to keep Kuroda in the game early, scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st and another in the 3rd. Robinson Cano led the charge, the power in his bat suddenly awakening with a double and a homer in his first 2 at-bats of the game.
- After the Cano HR, the offense never generated many threats the rest of the way. They had 2 on, 1 out in the bottom of the 7th and couldn't convert, with Nick Swisher striking out to strand Jeter and Teix to end the inning.
- With as poorly as Kuroda pitched, give a call to the bullpen trio of Rapada, Logan, and Soriano for pitching a scoreless 4.2 innings to keep their team in the game. Logan was really good, striking out 4 in 2 innings.
- Derek Jeter continued to be the best power hitter on the team, hitting a solo HR in the bottom of the 9th to make things interesting.