There’s no way around it: The Yankees put forth an embarassing effort in the ALCS. Of course, a lot went wrong in this ALCS. Jeter’s injury was a big blow and we can hem and haw about Girardi’s lineup construction, bullpen management, and pinch-hitting decisions (which we will in the coming days). But quite frankly, none of that would have mattered too much if the Yankees’ offense had performed anywhere close to the way they did in the regular season. We can point fingers at individual players, but the fact of the matter is that most of the Yankees hitters failed to hit all post-season. The run prevention was there: the Orioles offense was completely shut down in the ALDS and the Tigers were pretty much kept in check until game 4. In both series though, the Yanks simply failed to hit. The only difference in the ALCS was that the Tigers actually had a formidable offense. Still, each of the first three games were in reach if only there was a little bit of offense. How bad have they been? Here’s their ugly triple slash line: .188/.254/.303. Check out their four factors:
Offensively, the post-season Yankees have hit worse than any qualified player did in the regular season. Their collective wOBA of .253 matches the wOBA’s of Ramon Santiago and Dee Gordon in 2012. Yuck. It’s not even an extremely small sample either. We’re dealing with 352 PA’s over 9 games here. If any individual player strings together 352 PA’s like that, he most likely loses his starting gig. Their .168 BABIP indicates that they certainly ran into some bad luck, but none of the other 3 factors were particularly encouraging either. They just failed in every way offensively.
Obviously, the Yankees ran into some good pitching in the post season which could explain some of it. Everyone knew the Tigers rotation would be tough to beat. But the Yankees had the highest wOBA and wRC+ in all of baseball this year and their lineup hit like a bunch of backup catchers when facing Tigers pitchers not named Jose Valverde. They also made the mediocre Joe Saunders look like like a Cy Young candidate and journeyman Miguel Gonzalez look like Cy Young himself. I’m not one to believe that “hitting is contagious” or that an entire team is prone to go into a slump all at once, but the 2012 Yankees may be the exception. I’m not sure if Kevin Long and his recommendations are to blame and that’s something that’s nearly impossible to quantify. However, it’s hard not to point a finger at him.