Yankees Poor Form | What’s Happening to Them?
The Yankees seem to have hit a hiccup in late May after a pretty good stretch of baseball after they lost Aaron Hicks, but returned Giancarlo Stanton. In the last four series that the Yankees have played, they faced the Blue Jays, Tigers, Rays, and Red Sox.
The Yankees poor form saw them lose the series to the Blue Jays two games to one; got swept by the Tigers in three; split a four-game series with the Rays, and most recently got swept by the Red Sox in three.
If you’re counting, that is a 3-10 record in their last thirteen. They went from a 28-19 AL East first-place contender to a longshot for the wildcard. There is a lot of ground to make up for the Yanks, so what went wrong, and what do they need to do to right the ship?
Yankees Poor Form | They Can’t Score Runs
Interestingly enough, the biggest issue the Yankees have run into in their struggle to win games is their inability to score runs. What a bizarre concept. Right now, the Yankees are scoring 3.72 runs per game, which is the lowest it has been since 1972 when the Yankees officially retired Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey’s number 8. It’s been a while.
They have scored the sixth-fewest runs in the MLB and have the sixth-lowest slugging percentage. The games they are losing are by 4,5,6 runs consistently. Not many close games in their recent stretch of poor production.
They get on base, though. They’re hitting the ball as well as if not better than the other top teams. They walk really often—second best in the MLB. They don’t even strike out as much as other teams do in this year of the strikeout.
They get thrown out all the time. The Yankees are performing especially poorly on the basepaths. According to Baseball-Reference, they have been thrown out an MLB high of 28 times and have an MLB low XBT% (Extra bases taken percentage) at 30%. If they’re scoring, they’re scoring from home runs. 11.2% of baserunners score for the Yankees.
Piecing Together Hits and Starting Rallies is the Key
The solution for the Yankees is playing fundamental baseball. They’re a franchise that stacks their lineup with big hitters and high slugging percentages, so their offense failing is a big issue. Their pitching, which is normally an issue, has been pretty exceptional. Yet, at the same time, they’re near the bottom in slugging percentage.
They need to be smarter on the bases. I’m not sure stealing more bases is their solution, although they have a 77% stolen base percentage on 18 attempts. They need to look to capitalize on quality contact, which manifests itself in stretching out plays into doubles.
Rally up. Hit together. Three solo home runs in a game is great for the stat line, but will probably lose them the game. Once they hit together, they need to be more decisive in their movements on the basepath, but smarter, too. It’s a tough thing to fix. There’s no one size fits all solution to baserunning. Especially when their problems seem to counteract one another.
They don’t chain together hits, which means they need to be aggressive on the base path, but they get thrown out all the time, so they’re not being smart either. Aggressive and smart is a catch-all solution, but it’s what the Yankees need to get back to their winning ways.