By Sweeny Murti
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The team that only hits home runs and can’t get a hit with runners in scoring position had a pretty amazing 7th inning on Sunday.
The Yankees scored 8 runs in that 7th inning, on their way to a 9-3 win and a 2-1 series victory over the Mets. During the rally the Yanks used 6 base hits (five singles, one double), 2 walks (one intentional), one hit batter and a sacrifice bunt (by Curtis Granderson, second leading home run hitter in the American League).
Sunday’s rally was the ninth time this season the Yankees have scored at least 4 runs in one inning. It was the third time they have done so without a home run.
“Too many home runs.” That’s what we’ve been hearing for a while now. I’m still not sure I understand that concept. I do understand how frustrating it is watching the Yankees waste scoring opportunities, but I think there is some confusion where one doesn’t really have anything to do with the other.
The Yankees have a lineup chock full of powerful hitters, and those hitters hit solid line drives that sometimes go over the fence. The hitters in the Yankee lineup—heck, every lineup—try to do one thing when they come to bat—they try to hit the ball hard. Singles, doubles, triples, home runs…the aim is to hit the ball as hard as you can and go as far around the bases as you can.
Hitting with runners in scoring position has become somewhat of a problem, stranding runners at an alarming rate for a team of such ability, and losing games that could easily be won with just one or two extra hits in the clutch situations the All-Stars in the Yankee lineup should be able to do better than anyone else.
So this frustration has led fans to wonder—are the Yankees too good at hitting home runs that they don’t know how to hit a single up the middle with a runner on third base and two outs?
This is Joe Girardi speaking to reporters Sunday morning before the Subway Series finale at Yankee Stadium:
The truth is the Yankees have probably been hitting into a little bad luck as suggested by BABIP stats (the folks at http://www.yankeeanalysts.com pointed this out about a week ago). On Sunday, perhaps the Yankees got a little payback with a rally that included a bleeder, a blooper, and a dribbler instead of one of those dreaded homers.
In the five home games prior to Sunday the Yankees were 4-for-33 with runners in scoring position. In Sunday’s 7th inning rally they were 5-for-7, including A-Rod’s slow roller that never came close to making it out of the infield, but drove in the winning run nonetheless.
It sounds like a cliché to say the Yankees have hit into bad luck and it’s bound to turn around sooner or later. But it might actually be true in this situation. And if that’s the case, we’ll end up looking at the 8-run 7th inning against the Mets as a moment when the luck started turning the Yankees way again.
The Yankees have too many good hitters to think that the current trend will continue all season.
Derek Jeter is now 25 hits away from 3,000. He says he doesn’t think about it yet, that he considers one or two hits away as being close.
Joe Girardi discussed the milestone ahead from Jeter’s perspective and the team’s:
25 hits away. Jeter has 26 hits in his last 19 games dating to May 1st. The Yankees have 3 more home games this week followed by a 9-game West Coast road trip. After that it’s a 10-game homestand June 7-16th.
What that means is this—if Jeter is to reach 3000 hits at home, his current pace should allow him to do so toward the end of that 10-game homestand in June. He has 22 games in order to get 25 hits. It’s going to be close, but Jeter’s flair for the dramatic usually finds a way to make things like this work.
Do the Yankees hit too many homers? Sound off in the comments below…