Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The First Base Black Hole

6-40 (.150 BA), 8 R, , 1 XBH, 5 RBI, 8 BB, 18 K

That's the combined batting line from the first base position in the Yankee lineup since Mark Teixeira went down with his calf injury.  Or more accurately, that's the combined first base batting line since Teix went down with his calf injury, got rushed back into the lineup before he was ready to play because the offense was complete ass without him, and then had said calf blow up on him again in his desperate attempt to break up Saturday's still bullshit game-ending double play.  You don't have to be a sabermetric genius to figure out that the batting line you see above is terrible, even if there is some marginal value in the runs scored and walks.  What's worse is that this type of marginal production might be all the Yankees get from first base from here on out.

Maybe it's still the hangover from another sloppy loss talking, but I don't think Teix is coming back this season.  The guy could barely make it through 9 innings after resting and rehabbing the calf for 2 weeks.  Now he's going to magically come back after 10-14 days and be at or better than that level after re-aggravating it?  Don't think so.  Not buying it.  Instead I'm moving forward under the assumption that the Yanks will continue to operate first base as another platoon spot with Nick Swisher, Steve Pearce, Casey McGehee, and whoever else they think might be able to play the spot in a pinch.

Now Swish has been slumping pretty bad lately, which is a big contributing factor to the ugliness of that combined batting line.  If he can turn things around soon, and get back to producing at a regular Swish-like rate, that will be valuable.  But he's still not going to be the everyday first baseman because he gets shifted back to right field against lefties, leaving the door open for Pearce and McGehee to soak up the extra ABs at a replacement-level clip.  No offense to either of those guys, but there's no acceptable reason for them to be hitting 5th or 6th in a New York Yankee lineup, and the fact that they are speaks to just how grim the Yankees' offensive situation is right now.  And even when Swish is at first, the offensive advantage gained is minimal at best because it means one of the platoon OF bats is taking his spot in right.

The Yankees are getting down years from every other major run producer in the middle of their batting order, and now they're looking at the possibility of first base becoming an offensive wasteland during a division race where they need all the offensive help they can get.  I really hope that Teix can be the sun that comes to wash away the rain and bring a little oomph back to the first base bag, but I'm not counting on it.

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