Castro's hot bat a direct boost for Yankees

Castro's hot bat a direct boost for Yankees

NEW YORK -- The Yankees have made their formula for success in 2016 clear: Get the starter through six innings with a lead, then give the game over to the bullpen.

But it might be time to make a slight amendment to the formula. That strategy is well and good, but there might be a shortcut. Just get Starlin Castro a hit.

Castro's splits in Yankees wins compared to Yankees losses are staggering. In wins, he's hitting .294 with a .328 on-base percentage and a .487 slugging percentage, but in losses those numbers fall dramatically to .233/.267/.331. The Yankees are seven games above .500 when Castro records a hit and five games below .500 when he goes hitless or does not play.

Perhaps even more impressive is what happens when Castro shows off his power. The second baseman has 11 home runs this season, and the Yankees are 9-2 in those games.

Friday night's win over the Giants was a chance for Castro to showcase this. The 26-year-old went 3-for-4 with a first-inning RBI double to give the Yankees an early lead. Those three hits, all against All-Star and former World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, pushed his career average against the starter to .467 in 30 at-bats.

The night was just an extension of Castro's impressive month. Castro entered Saturday hitting .304 with a .792 OPS in July after posting marks of .255 and .692 in the season's first three months.

"I think he's helped us win some games and I think you can clearly see the games he's helped us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Castro's recent hot streak. "Like I say, the more guys you have hitting in your lineup, the more runs you're going to score. He's been consistent, he's been swinging the bat well for the last couple of weeks again. He's a guy that can drive in runs and that's important as well."

Nick Suss is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.