II’m struck (some would say out) by Tex’s expressions to the local media following his game-winning 2 run homer, against the Mets, this past Saturday evening. He said that the Yanks are homerun hitters.
Now, I know they are called the “Bronx Bombers,” and am aware that when the team was constructed, homeruns were particularly valued when all these guys (how did Gardner slip in? Oh, yeah, Melky was “the best” we had, but he didn’t hit many.) were caught in trade, ransom or, in the case of the best of the current battalion, by surprise.
But when the spigot runs dry, when there are no beautiful bombs to soften the earth for our harvest of victory, we wish for willful singles to make the advance easy.
So, we agree that Tex should learn to go with the outside pitch to left, cross-handed. More like Eric Chavez, articulating his swing in a plan for success, although it has its own hazards, witness his pops to left, recently, as well as those by Robbie and Curtis and Raul. It’s not exactly easy to square that up all the time, either. When you do, you get a high rate, a speeding bullet that has to be unfortunate to hit the couple fenceposts out there. And when Robbie does it, it’s a thing of beauty – we should count those. Not much more numerous than homers.
So, Tex begs mercy, pleading to be allowed to be what he is, a homerun hitter, choosing to ignore average for the sake of pops, and wins, he argues. But, but what will happen when we face great, motivated pitching in the playoffs? 1 in 20, the going rate, overall. No, no, when there is a rally, men on base, better to make a higher percentage plan for the single, so it’s like 1 in 3. There’s your RISP.
But it occurs to me that it’s not that Tex or Swish are lowering their average for success by swinging from their heels in that big moment. They always take a big, hard swing. Their averages are what their approach has been, 240, 250, so you get just that when they face RISP, cum slugging percentage, and their obp’s are both pretty good.
Yet you may argue that when the best pitchers throw their best, they will never get that perfect meatball, that hanging curve or changeup. Well, you ain’t gonna get many strong singles, either. Both these guys are natural righties, so it may hold truth for both, Tex’s honest prior admission that it’s hard keeping a good swing on both sides. This is the best he can do.
So, I am at rest with our chances for Tex and Swish to come through as they do. Thump! Thump! (chest) (Sidenote: I saw Nick thumping after a good single, not a spectacular one, this past week. He had definitely wanted that.) Not to say that the Yanks should dump either one, or that it would be likely to better their powers, even in a playoff game. But I still do like rallies, and hope that bat handling smarts (say like Jeter, D.) should be appreciated going forward.