Via Ken Davidoff -
Consider the Yankees, now 24-21, have scored 193 runs and allowed 204, an underwhelming run differential. The 16-28 Cubs? They have scored 174 and allowed 174. They are woefully underperforming their own mathematical expectations.
And if you wonder why that is, all you had to do was endure this contest, when Cubs ace — and likely Yankees trade target — Jeff Samardzija dominated the Yankees’ lineup for seven shutout innings, lowering his ERA to a major-league-leading 1.46, only to see his closer Hector Rondon blow a 2-0 lead in the ninth inning thanks in part to a throwing error by Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. Samardzija has zero wins in 10 starts, which tells you all you need to know about the useless measure of pitchers’ wins.
These Yankees aren’t the scrappy bunch that we witnessed in their immediate predecessors, when a bunch of replacement-level players accompanied Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner (and late-season reinforcement Alfonso Soriano) on an unlikely ride to late-season contention.
The Steinbrenners spent nearly $300 million to re-energize their team’s offense, even while allowing Cano to go to the Mariners, and so far, that reboot hasn’t paid many dividends. The Yankees rank eighth in the American League in runs scored.
Most responsible for that mediocrity are the three highly compensated newcomers in the lineup. Carlos Beltran (.234/.286/.430) resides on the disabled list with a right elbow injury, Jacoby Ellsbury (.272/.346/.389) cooled down after a blazing start, and Brian McCann (.224/.274/.367) has just been awful. The Yankees’ three best offensive players have been the resurgent Mark Teixeira (.264/.372/.527), unheralded rookie Yangervis Solarte (.317/.394/.493) and blossoming pillar Brett Gardner (.304/.379/.424).
But, hey, if the free agents don’t work out, it’s alright…after all, we have Cito Culver, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Dante Bichette Jr., and Ty Hensley down on the farm, right?