The New York Yankees offense got rolling again in a 9-6 win on Wednesday night, hopefully marking the end of a slow week at the plate.
The New York Yankees got off to a blazing start to the shortened 2020 season. An early six-game winning streak gave them a nice cushion at the top of the division.
But winning streaks don’t last forever. The Yankees hit their first speed bump of the year, going 2-5 over the last seven.
Unfortunately, the production at the plate has sputtered, the worst offense coming in a 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday in which the team only recorded two hits.
However, that speed bump may now be in the rearview mirror. The Yankees offense exploded early Wednesday night to open up an 8-0 lead. They ended up winning the game 9-6.
Most notable, the offense produced with runners in scoring position. Even a casual baseball fan can tell you that the Yankees tend to live and die with the long ball. And on Tuesday night, the long ball accounted for nearly half of their offense.
A Luke Voit three-run shot in the first put the Yankees on the board.
— ESNY (@EliteSportsNY) August 11, 2020
Later, an Aaron Judge solo shot tacked on one more run.
— ESNY (@EliteSportsNY) August 12, 2020
The rest of the Yankees offense was produced by hitting line drives with runners on base. Mike Ford was the biggest contributor with two doubles and three RBIs.
The important thing, however, is that the Yankees scored runs without the long ball.
Occasionally, the Yankees are going to face dominant pitchers that don’t give up a lot of home runs—guys who excel at keeping the ball on the ground. In a shortened season, the Yankees offense can’t afford to be ineffective in those games. Sometimes they’ll need to play small ball. Sometimes they’ll need to steal bases. They might even find themselves in the position to bunt runners into scoring position.
These are things that analytics say are ineffective in maximizing your offense output over a 162-game season.
Obviously, this isn’t to say the Yankees need to completely change their approach. Getting runners on base, whether by walk or hit, and driving the ball out of the yard is a great way to win a lot of ballgames.
They just need to prove that on days when the ball isn’t flying out of the yard, they can still create runs the old-fashioned way.
They did that on Wednesday night. Not everyone contributed, but they still found a way to score the runs they needed to hold off the Braves.
However, mixing the ability to hit with runners in scoring position and the ability to launch a ball into orbit on any given pitch is a recipe for offensive success.