ANAHEIM — The music was back on in the Yankees’ clubhouse. There was joking around and laughing after Tuesday night’s 7-4 win over the Angels. It had been a while since the clubhouse was that loose. It has also been a while since the Bombers have been powering their way to consistent wins.
Tuesday night played out as scripted for the Yankees. Three home runs, including a three-run shot for Aaron Judge, and just overwhelming the Angels. That is how the first-half worked.
For the last month, the offense has been scuffling.
Tuesday was the first win in four games for the Yankees. They split a series with the A’s, who are arguably the worst team in baseball, and dropped the first game of this series to the Angels. Both of those teams will be golfing come October.
The Bombers weren’t exactly living up to their name. For the last month, they’ve had an OPS of .657 (26th in the majors), only better than the Tigers and A’s in the American League. Their slugging percentage was .357 (26th) and again only better than the Tigers and A’s in the AL.
Yankee hitting coach Dillon Lawson knows the struggle is real, but he has found things that have encouraged him.
“Manoah, Scherzer, 13 runs on day one in Oakland,” Lawson said before Tuesday’s win. “It really isn’t a matter of whether or not we can do it. It’s a matter of consistency at this point.”
Mixed in with the 10-17 record in the month of August and the 15-23 record since the All-Star break have been some bright spots. The Yankees beat Blue Jays’ fireball pitcher Alek Manoah. They swept the Mets and defeated Max Scherzer. They posted 13 runs on the A’s Thursday night and looked like the team that seemed unstoppable in the first half of the season
Lawson knows very well the Yankees offense has hit the skids and he understands the underlying reasons. The obvious reason is they have lost big hitters.
Giancarlo Stanton was out for 28 games to a leg injury. They’ve been without Matt Carpenter for four weeks after he fractured his foot. Anthony Rizzo has missed nine games over a month because of back spasms and DJ LeMahieu is dealing with a big toe issue that affects his swing.
Lawson sees the domino effect with that contributing to the skid.
“And then everyone else tried to do what they felt was right, which is totally natural as a competitor as a teammate, you want to elevate your game but you’re playing at your highest level already. So then reaching and grasping for more,” Lawson said.
“And so you get all of that type of stuff coming from a really good place, but now instead of a two day thing you’ve actually got to really dig yourself out of this hole. “So that’s what we’re trying to do right now.”
Stanton is back and Lawson said it’s expected that he will need some games to find his timing. Gleyber Torres is getting bombarded with breaking balls and trying to adjust. LeMahieu, who surprised Lawson and the dugout with his safety squeeze Monday night, is trying to play through discomfort and make things happen. Rizzo, who wore a wrap on his back in between innings Tuesday night, may be finding his swing after hitting homers in back-to-back nights.
Digging out is part of the process. Lawson and the hitters preach ‘process,’ because it’s a long season, it’s a game with a lot of failure and it gives them a north star to keep them on the path they think will lead them to a World Series.
And that is how they know a 7-4 win like Tuesday night doesn’t necessarily mean everything is fine with the offense.
“What we have to do in order to win a World Series, the results actually matter,” Lawson said.
“We’ll take an ugly 3-2 win right now. You can take the bright spots, but you can’t ignore all the things that need to be cleaned up and tightened up for the postseason.”
Source: Berkshire mont
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