“When you’re going well, you know it’s because you’re swinging at good pitches. And when you’re not, a lot of the times it’s because you expand the zone. The combination of good pitching and maybe swinging at a few bad pitches here and there, it’s not a good combination.”
As more than half of the Yankees lineup has fallen into a collective slump, there does seem to be one universal truth: They’re chasing bad pitches. Five lineup regulars — Russell Martin, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson — are hitting below .200 in the postseason. Granderson has 14 strikeouts in 26 at-bats, Rodriguez has 12 strikeouts, Swisher has eight strikeouts and Eric Chavez is 0-for-11 with six Ks.
“We’re all doing the same thing,” Rodriguez said. “If you look at our rally (Saturday) night, it was at strikes. When you see us struggle, it was around chases. If a guy gets you out in the strike zone, then you can tip your cap a little bit, but not when you help out and expand it.”
There haven’t been many pitching surprises in the postseason. Against the Yankees powerful lineup, pitchers often focus on offspeed pitches away, and the Yankees have seen a lot of those. They’ve also seen plenty of breaking balls in the dirt, which Granderson especially seems to be going after.
“We go into every series knowing what to expect, and I don’t think we’ve been off,” hitting coach Kevin Long said. “… When a pitcher is pitching you a certain way, understand what he’s doing. I don’t know that we have a number of individuals that don’t understand what’s going on. There’s going to be certain circumstances where maybe a guy over swings when he should be trying to get a base hit, but I don’t think that’s a big sample size.”
As Joe Girardi said last night, it’s all about adjustments. This late in the year, it’s hard to expect significant mechanical changes, but that doesn’t seem to be the Yankees biggest problem at this point. It’s their approach. Hard to hit when they’re swinging at pitchers’ pitches.
“If you have an understanding of what they’re trying to do to you, maybe we’ll chase a little bit less,” Russell Martin said. “Just knowing that they’re using our aggressiveness against us right now as a group. We get in spots where we get guys in scoring position, we have to know they’re going to try to make us chase. It’s easier said than done, but if everybody just turns it up a notch, we’ll be all right.”
Associated Press photo