Distance between axis and axis label

I know correctly understand your problem, but I don't know

    > how to fix it. It seems you need a pad setting for the
    > distance from the axis label to the tick mark labels, but I
    > don't see one in the rc file.

There is an Axis property LABELPAD that can be set -- it has not been
exposed to rc yet but should be. Something like

ax.yaxis.LABELPAD = 5

should work for now. Let us know ....