Prior to the start of the New York Yankees’ three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park, outfielder Brett Gardner expressed dissatisfaction towards his strikeout totals this season.
“I have been striking out too much. My mechanics have been a little off, rushing the swing and swinging with my head moving. I have been swinging and missing more than I would like.’’ (New York Post)
Through 33 games played, Gardner has 31 strikeouts — nearly one per game. He even struck out three times in Monday’s 4-1 loss to the Angels.
In 2013, Gardner set his career-high for strikeouts in a single season with 127 in 145 games played. He’s on pace to surpass that total in 2014.
“I have to do a better job, but I don’t want to change my game. I have to be aggressive so when I get a pitch to hit, I put the ball in play and use my speed. I felt better [Wednesday].’’ (New York Post)
Interestingly, despite Gardner’s issues with striking out, the rest of the outfielder’s statistics haven’t suffered. He’s hitting .286 — up 13 points from his 2013 season-end batting average — and his 17 runs scored are the second most of any Yankee only to fellow speedy outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
New York hitting coach Kevin Long believes that Gardner’s strikeout rate will begin to decrease at some point.
“The [biggest part] is the swings and misses. It could be swinging at a couple of balls off the plate or not reacting to the breaking ball. The number will go down, right now it’s extremely high. He isn’t happy. If he gets back to putting the ball in play, he will get hits.’’ (New York Post)