The Yankees are on pace to break the single-season team home run record set by the Seattle Mariners in 1997 when they had 264. But it that going to be enough to carry them all the way through October, and possibly even November?
The Yankees are not just hitting home runs; they are blasting home runs. The latest of which was a 450 ft. bomb off the bat of Gary Sanchez during Sunday’s afternoon matinee against the suddenly hapless Orioles.
And in doing the research for this piece, I came across this quote that appeared on Baseball Almanac’s website. It was written by a respected writer from the New York Post, Ken Davidoff back in 2012. See what you think.
"“The Yankees can’t win it all just by hitting home runs. In October, when the weather is cold and the pitchers are elite, they’ll need to play small ball. I don’t view this as complete malarkey. There are grains of truth to those notions. It is generally colder in October than it is in July or August, no matter where you’re playing ball. And playoff teams generally will have good pitchers, and the postseason schedule provides a tad more rest for those pitchers.” – by Ken Davidoff in the New York Post (07/19/2012,"
In 2012, Davidoff was proven to be correct when the Yankees got by Baltimore in the ALDS before running headlong into the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. But are we to believe that the team’s loss was weather related and due to not playing small ball?
That would be a long stretch, just as it’s a stretch to think that the Yankees will continue to hit home runs at the pace they are now. They’re certain to hit more home runs than the Boston Red Sox, who have yet to have anyone in double figures (the Yankees now have seven), and that is an accomplishment in and of itself.
The Yankees are shock and awe personified
Home runs send a shock wave through the core of the opposition, just as they did this afternoon when the bomb by Sanchez put the Yankees up by a score of 5-0 in the very first inning. Home runs are demoralizing, and they are instantaneous.
And if it were the middle of October and the temperature was 45 instead of 85 degrees as it was today at the Stadium, and Kevin Gausman throws the same pitch he did today to Sanchez, I’ll bet the house that the ball ends up in the same place it did today in the hands of a little girl way up in the bleachers.
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Brian Cashman did not construct this team to play small ball, nor did he build the team in 2012 to play that way. And as the saying goes, you don’t change horses midstream.
I can recall some games this season that the Yankees lost by scores of 3-2 and 4-2 on days when the bats went flat and the postgame press conference by Joe Girardi had nothing to say except, “We got another good start from our staff, and we’ll see you tomorrow.”
The Yankees will take their chances
Davidoff, though, was referring to the playoffs in which a different brand of baseball is played. And when you are facing the best of the best and not Kevin Gausman, everything changes. But wait a minute, didn’t the Yankees just light up David Price sending him back to Boston whining to the media?
The playoffs are a crapshoot. The hot hand wins. Small ball, big, ball, home run ball, bunt ball, it doesn’t matter. You go out there with your best; you play your best, and hope for the best.
The Yankees have a wealth of talent spread out through their farm system. Holes to fill will be hard to find. Nevertheless, the team will make the 54th pick
And I don’t know if Davidoff would apply the same words to this team or not. But I do know this much. Any pitcher who makes a mistake to any of these Yankees who are crushing the ball at a record setting pace is going to pay for it and pay big.