Last season’s switching of Damon and Jeter in the line-up, gave the Yankees a one-two impact that was hands-down, the best in the league.
Probably, the principal managerial choice of Joe Girardi made to date. It worked instantaneously, and made everyone wonder why Jeter had ever been in the second spot.
Jeter’s consistency of getting on base, shadowed by Damon’s hard switch-hitting bat will be a hard act to beat. Both players benefited, and so did the team.
Could it cost the Yanks a repeat? Can that kind-of chemistry be replaced?
It is going to impossible to do again, so how can Joe tweak the line-up?
Factor in the downgrade at DH, because Johnson is not equal to Matsui.
Johnson high OBP is irrelevant because getting on base requires running and being injury prone that is not his best option. So all the walks he draws will be useless if he gets thrown out constantly.
Granderson, a lefty-hitter is a powerhouse against right-handed pitchers. He has always been weak against lefties, but K. Long is a batting coach god so let’s see what he can do.
Still, who should be Jeter’s punch-buddy?
Let me play Girardi for a moment, and give the first thoughts of possible batting order:
Granderson (swap Granderson and Johnson against lefties)
Granderson has the speed for a perfect two hitter, and if he can lower his number of strikeouts this would be a nice fit.
Johnson has been thrown around to hit behind the Captain, but his lack of speed make it risky for both Johnson getting injured and a very easy out. If Gardner could get his OBP up he would be great as a thought down the road.
The only other thought to leave you with is what about a Jeter-Cano tandem?
Do you remember when Cano hit in the two slot last season while Damon was sidelined?
Here is the New York Daily News article that got my me thinking about the possibilities:
BY Kristie Ackert
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER
Updated Friday, May 22nd 2009, 10:30 AM
Robinson Cano knew his little slump the past two weeks would end eventually. After all, patience is his new specialty.
The Yankees’ second baseman worked in the offseason with hitting coach Kevin Long on being more selective, and it is a lesson that he applies to more than his at-bats. He remained disciplined during a sluggish stretch to start May, and he has snapped out of it the last two nights.
“It was great, I saw a lot of good pitches,” Cano said of hitting in the second slot. “I saw a lot of fastballs, it was good.”
Cano responded with his second straight three-hit night. He had an RBI double in the first inning, a two-run homer to right field in the second and a single in the sixth. In his last two games, Cano has homered twice and driven in six runs.
Joe Girardi‘s decision to insert Cano in the second spot showed a lot more faith in him than was the case last year. Cano started last season hitting just .151 through April and struggled all season to get on track.
“I used last year as an example, a lesson,” Cano said. “I looked at what I did in November and learned from it and then put it away and started over for this year.”
Part of that preparation was working with Long in the Dominican Republic in the offseason. The hitting coach emphasized discipline at the plate and talked to Cano about working pitch counts and being more selective.
In April, the approach worked out quite well for Cano. He hit .366 with five home runs and 16 RBI for the month and tied a career best with an 18-game hitting streak. His average was the most improved in the majors from April 2008.
“I noticed a difference right away in spring training,” Cano said. “I would take a strike or take two strikes and get a hit. It just worked for me.”
Working on being more patient over the winter also helped him gain perspective on the season as a whole. In the first 17 games of this month, Cano’s bat cooled off considerably. He hit .197 with one home run and three RBI and drew just four walks in May before breaking out of that slump Wednesday night by going 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI. Cano said he never pressed or worried about changing his routine during the slump.
“I just know there is going to be ups and there is going to be downs, I didn’t do anything different, I was just patient,” Cano said. “That is the key to everything. Be patient at the plate, be patient in the field – even trying to be patient when you are driving is good. Just be patient.”
- Boras asks Yanks to work up new contract for Cano (nypost.com)
- Keefe To The City: What Went Wrong And Right For The Yankees (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- New York Yankees: Hurricane Irene Got Nothing On The Bronx Bombers (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- Source: ‘Highly unlikely’ Yanks redo Cano deal (espn.go.com)
- Yankees Rumors: Sabathia, Posada, Free Agents (mlbtraderumors.com)
- With Rodriguez Out, Yanks’ Lineup Hardly Lacks Pop (nytimes.com)
- With Cano batting third, Yanks are scary (msn.foxsports.com)