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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 5/12/19

Yankees keep winning without homers; Yankees much improved in the clutch; Torres avoids injury after HBP; potential bad blood between Yankees and Rays

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Of course he homers on the day of the link dump
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NY Daily News | Kristie Ackert: The Yankees are doing very well, as they are currently 23-16 and just 1.5 games back of the Rays in the division race. How they are doing it is a bit surprising, as the Yankees are only ninth in the league in homers with 56, relying instead on clutch hitting and strong pitching to best other teams. Maybe the “too many homers” crowd had a point after all. I will point out, though, that even this year, the Yankees are 20-10 when they do homer and 3-6 when they don’t. So much for finding other ways to win!

New York Post | Ken Davidoff: Another difference between this year’s squad and last year’s is their batting average in clutch situations. As Davidoff notes, this year’s Bombers own a .272/.355/.422 line with runners in scoring position, compared to .253/.342/.442 last year. Yet, as Davidoff curiously omits from his piece, the Yankees’ .777 OPS with RISP this year is only 1 percent better than league average within the same split according to Baseball -Reference, while last year’s .784 OPS was eight percent above average by the same measure. Sure, this year’s squad may feel more clutch than last year’s, but doubts remain as to whether it actually is. | Brendan Kuty: It seemed like yet another entry would be added to the Yankees’ list of injury woes when Gleyber Torres was struck by a pitch on the right elbow in Friday’s game. Fortunately, the second baseman’s X-rays came back negative, allowing Torres to suit up for Saturday’s game. Though the Yankees lost, Torres collected two hits and and a run scored, bringing his batting average up to .286. Here’s hoping that good things continue for the young phenom.

New York Post | Ted Holmlund: Finally, there’s some speculation that the Rays’ Yonny Chirinos plunked Luke Voit and Gary Sanchez on purpose as retaliation for CC Sabathia beaning Jesus Sucre late last year. Holmlund also suggests that Sabathia was pulled from the game before he could bean some Rays as further payback. If there actually is an issue here, it’s up to both parties to ensure that things aren’t escalated any further, before someone gets hurt. Hopefully cooler heads prevail.