A team simply doesn’t win 95 games without having a decent offense. Nor does one win that many games without good pitching. But, while the pitching has stepped it up a notch here in the postseason, the bats have gone cold and have the New York Yankees playing an elimination game this evening against the Baltimore Orioles. In the playoffs it’s easy to start playing the blame game, so let’s spare no expense and call out the culprits since I have no shame.
In four games thus far, he’s owns a paltry .133/.222/.133 slash line in 18 plate appearances. He has two singles, two walks, one RBI, and three strikeouts to his credit. He’s also grounded into one double play. This is nothing new for Swisher when it comes to the playoffs as his career line (.165/.287/.302) is just more of the same. After a great last half of August and early September, his stock has dropped precipitously since. It’s really too bad considering he’s a switch-hitter with power, and helps protect those around him from the likes of the Darren O’Day’s and Brian Matusz‘s of the world. He’s also left six runners stranded, which includes two on second and third (with two outs) in the eighth inning in Game Four. For a player who hit .272/.364/.473 for the season, he’s probably not helping his upcoming free agency hitting like he is in the postseason.
As our own Ricky Keeler (@Rickinator555) said last night via Twitter, “The Grandy Man can’t.” He’s 100% correct too. Granderson is currently hitting .063/.118/.063 in four games in the ALDS. That’s simply embarrassing. Although he didn’t hit for much average during the season (.232) he had a propensity to hit one out. It appeared by the end of the regular season he was beginning to turn things around, at least in regards to getting his power stroke back. Alas, he has struck out nine times in 17 plate appearances. Let that statistic sink in for a moment. He’s currently striking out every other at-bat. He’s absolutely hurting this offense, and since his defense is nothing special, maybe it’s time to get someone fresh in there. Might be high time to give Brett Gardner a much deserved shot, at least he has a better chance of taking some pitches and working a walk than swinging at garbage outside the zone on three or four pitches.
Much has been said about A-Rod the last few days on the YGY (here, here, here), but the fact remains: He’s more of a burden than a blessing during the postseason. While he’s not totally to blame, he shoulders much of it (fair or not) because of where manager Joe Girardi placed him in the lineup and the amount of money he makes. People can defend A-Rod, but you don’t pay somebody more than $200 million to get pinch hit for twice in the playoffs by platoon players. That’s the reality of it, whether people choose to believe it or not. Girardi has little to no confidence in Rodriguez in late-game situations, and that may be the biggest story to come from all of this.
He’s currently hitting .125/.222/.125 in the ALDS, coupled with nine strikeouts in 18 plate appearances. Exactly like Granderson, he’s striking out every other at-bat. I despise piling on one player in a team sport, and I certainly don’t fault A-Rod for the team’s hitting woes, but he’s given the Yankees two singles and two walks while leaving six runners on base (five in scoring position). Three of those stranded runners were in scoring position and A-Rod struck out (surprise). As previously stated above, he had the chance to be a hero in the eighth inning of Game Four when he had runners on second and third with only one out, but he struck out swinging.
Personally, I feel for A-Rod. He’ll never live up to his contract going into the twilight of his career. In my opinion, it would take him absolutely raking over the next few postseasons (assuming the Yankees get there) to overlook his awful career playoff numbers. He’s had a stellar career up to this point, and while he’s a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer, his postseason numbers definitely come to the forefront. The playoffs work both ways, it can permanently cement a player into the psyche of the fanbase for which they performed well for (Think: David Freese) or can damage your credibility as a player. I don’t see many teams wishing they had the postseason version of A-Rod. However, I just wish we had the .272/.353/.430 slash line version of him.
These three players certainly hindered the Yankees chances at putting the Orioles away. Last night’s game could have catapulted the Yankees into the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers, who had to expend Justin Verlander to clinch their ALDS matchup against the Oakland A’s. Anything can happen in one game, and that works both ways as Swisher, Granderson, and A-Rod could bust out of their mini slumps and push this team into the next round. Here’s to hoping they do.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference