NEW YORK -- Today's home opener against the Angels marks just the seventh game of the season for the Yankees. So, it's hard to get too worked up about how things have shaken down so far, good or bad. Six games are hardly enough to predict how the next 156 are going to unfold.
I say that specifically about how the Yankees have hit -- or, really, haven't hit -- with runners in scoring position. They enter play hitting .222 with runners in scoring position, ranking 10th of 14 teams in the American League. And the reasons are easy to spot.
Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira -- otherwise known as the heart of the order -- have started the season hitting a combined 16-for-66 with no homers and just one RBI. Their overall futility, as you'd expect, has carried over into their performance with runners in scoring position, in which they are a combined 1-for-19.
(Feel free to grab your noseplugs).
"It's important to get everyone going in our lineup but we've only played six games here," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, shortly after the Yankees completed a sweep of the Orioles, despite struggling with runners on. "I'm not too worried about it."
He shouldn't be.
Whenever an issue emerges with a team -- whether it be a rough run of starting pitching, or a hitting drought with runners in scoring position -- the real question is what it means in the long term. Are the results a function of a team enduring the typical fluctuations of a season? Or are they an indication of some fatal flaw in its construction?
I'd tend to think that this is a temporary lull, one that the Yankees should be able to reverse fairly quickly. To be sure, they'd rather have the middle of their order clicking out of the gates. But it's difficult to reasonably believe that Cano, Rodriguez and Teixeira remain this cold for an extended period of time.
Even if one of them takes a while to thaw -- and his track record would indicate that Teixeira is the most likely candidate -- the Yankees' depth should help. Their lineup should have enough bats to help them get through this lull, so long as they keep reaching base, thus giving themselves opportunities to hit with runners in scoring position.
And so far, they have had both go their way. Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson have taken advantage of their opportunities, and the Yankees have generated plenty of them. As a team, they have come to the plate 81 times with runners in scoring position, most in the American League.
It's a sign -- albeit over a short period of time -- that this Yankees offense is clicking in one important department. And if track records are to be believed, it's only a matter of time until the rest of the bats round into shape.