Tri-State Sports:Yankees lost on offense during postseason
Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 21, 2012 23:10
In just a matter of days, the New York Yankees went from World Series contenders to three-ring circus purveyors.
It’s funny what losing can do to a team.
Alex Rodriguez is in the midst of trade rumors, Curtis Granderson has an option that may or may not be picked up, Derek Jeter is at the very beginning stage of recovering from a broken ankle, CC Sabathia is on his way to get a sore elbow checked out for a potential injury and that’s only the start of the drama.
The speculation around this team is rampant. But realistically, only one thing is known for sure.
At no point during the season did age shine through more than under the bright October lights, as the Yankees were simply incapable of manufacturing runs in the postseason. A large percentage of the team was nursing injuries, which only further hampered their already limited ways to score runs.
In years past, the biggest problem New York has had in the playoffs has been their pitching - especially their starters - and their struggles in keeping the other team at bay. But this postseason, with the exception of Sabathia’s final start in Game 4 of the ALCS, the starting pitching was superb and kept the Yanks in contention despite the fact that they were constantly posting zeroes across the box score.
Simply put, they couldn’t score to save their playoff lives.
During the regular season, the Yankees were second in the league with 804 runs scored. But they led the league with 245 home runs - 34 more than the Orioles, who ranked second in the category.
Their dependence on the long ball was all too clear by the playoffs, as they were forced to rely on the heroics of Raul Ibanez on several occasions just to keep themselves alive. Other than the few home runs that they did manage, the Yankees seemed lost on offense, unable to manufacture runs by playing small ball like other postseason teams.
While their opponents were able to string base hits together, steal bases, lay down bunts and use outs productively to tack runs on the board, New York was busy swinging and missing at the plate, as every batter looked desperate to rip the cover off the ball.
The concept of creating runs was lost on the Yankees, and that was their downfall.
If New York hopes to better things for next season and improve their chances at winning a 28th World Series title, they will need to rely less on home runs - far more difficult to come by in the playoffs, as the cool October air kills fly balls and stingy postseason pitching avoids big mistakes at all costs - and more on making contact and hitting for average.
It may not be as explosive or sexy of an offensive strategy, but it is far more effective. After all, to quote a former coach of mine, “they don’t ask how, they ask how many.”
And that’s why the Yankees are currently booking tee times while the Tigers are booking plane rides for the Fall Classic.