Interesting piece in the Newark Star-Ledger this weekend from my pal Jeff Bradley, formerly of ESPN The Magazine, who writes the Yankees became too reliant on the longball to be successful in the postseason.
“If you don’t have singles hitters,” says one American League advance scout in the piece, “you need hitters capable of becoming singles hitters when the situation calls for it. Against great pitching, in tight ball games, in the postseason, you almost always need a ‘short game’ to win.”
You can read the entire story here.
It recalls the argument earlier in the season, which Joe Girardi pooh-poohed, that the Yankees tended to wait for the home run rather than building runs the old-fashioned way. No one, of course, was saying the home run was a bad thing, but wouldn't a little bloop single have done them just as well in the seventh-inning of ALDS Game 5?
The prime culprit seems to have been Mark Teixeira, who despite hitting 39 home runs and knocking in 111, hit just .248 overall and just .224 as a left-handed hitter, when he stubbornly insisted on hitting into the teeth of a shift that gobbled up anything that stayed in the ballpark.
"You don't want to turn me into a slap hitter,'' Teixeira said when asked why he didn't try to go the other way against the shift.
It seems that a little slap single would have done the job quite nicely with the bases loaded against the Tigers that night, doncha think?