- Last Updated: 12:46 PM, July 14, 2012
- Posted: 2:21 AM, July 14, 2012
Someone is sure to call up a radio station today and start complaining about how the Yankees are still failing to get big hits with runners in scoring position, as if a home run isn’t a big hit.
Maybe it’s time to get past all that and realize the Yankees are what they are: a home-run hitting machine that isn’t going to smallball you in any form or fashion. Pull out all the stats you want. It seems the only one that’s going to matter with these 2012 Yankees is how many baseballs go over the fence and how many men are on when they do it.
Russell Martin will be credited with the game-winning hit and game-winning putout in last night’s 6-5 come-from-behind win over the Angels. And if he can hit better than the .179 he posted in the first half the Yankees will be better for it.
But it was Mark Teixeira who offered a refresher on why the Yankees ended the first half of the season with the best record in baseball. Batting right-handed, the switch-hitter belted two home runs worth five RBIs.
His two-run blast off Angels starter C.J. Wilson in the third inning and a three-run rainbow in the eighth off reliever Scott Downs provided all the scoring as the Yankees rallied from a 5-2 deficit to tie the game 5-5 in the eighth before going ahead on Martin’s two-out single that scored pinch-runner Dewayne Wise.
“It’s all about the win,” Teixeira said. “I don’t mind hitting two home runs, but the win is the most important thing.”
Last night’s second-half opener was a carbon copy of the first half of the season where the Yankees posted a baseball best 52-33 record thanks to a major-league high 134 home runs. It’s the highest total through 85 games in franchise history. Judging from last night, expect more of the same in the second half.
You can also expect more of the same struggles when the Yankees don’t hit home runs. Look past Teixeira’s 16th and 17th home runs of the year and the Yankees could have made things easier on themselves with some timely hitting.
If Teixeira’s home runs were more of the same, so were the sixth and seventh innings. Curtis Granderson led off the sixth with a triple that nearly rolled to the wall after Mike Trout dived and missed in center field.
But the Yankees left him Granderson there as Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez grounded out and Robinson Cano hit a line shot into the glove of short stop Erick Aybar.
In the seventh Nick Swisher led off with a double, but was stranded at third when Andruw Jones, Martin and designated hitter Jayson Nix made successive outs. Count it up and the Yankees were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position before Teixeira’s second blast with Derek Jeter at second and Granderson at first.
“We don’t keep track during the game. I had no idea we were 0-for 8,” Teixeira said. “You guys can see the stats. But C.J. Wilson was really good. He made some great pitches. Sometimes you have to give the pitcher credit.”
Still, the Yankees expect more from their offense. They want to be the kind of team that hits homers and also hits with runners in scoring position. “Obviously we have to be better with runners in scoring position,” Teixeira said. “That’s just the fact of the matter. Offensively we haven’t been up to our standards.”
Certainly, the fans expect more from Rodriguez who was booed while going 0 for 4. Maybe they figure out this RISP thing as the season goes along. Maybe Martin jump-starts some of that after his clutch hit last night. But for now the Yankees appear to be just what they appear to be: Bombers.Follow @NYPostsports