Dillon Lawson explains why Yankees hitters aren’t changing their approach
After the Yankees hitters hit 30 times in the first two ALCS games and Giancarlo Stanton said after Game 2 that the offense might have to change its approach against the Astros, batting coach Dillon Lawson said said that was not the answer.
« We’re not going to go out there and develop new skills, » Lawson said ahead of Game 3 in the Bronx on Saturday. “That time has passed. It’s a question of execution.
Again on Saturday, the Yankees offense was unexecuted and they lost to the Astros, 5-0.
In fact, they had one of the worst performances in playoff history, with just three hits — a fourth-inning double by Stanton and a pair of two-out singles in the ninth by Matt Carpenter and Harrison Bader.
That came after they had a total of nine hits in the first two games.
Going back even further, the Yankees have been held to six or fewer hits in 10 straight playoff games, dating back to Game 5 of the 2020 ALDS. In that span, they’re at .159 (49 for 309).
In eight playoff games this year, the Yankees are hitting just .161 (40 for 249), which is more than just one team in the playoffs (the Rays hit just .115 in their loss to Toronto).
For a team designed to hit home runs, the power of the Yankees has been largely absent. They entered Saturday with a .590 OPS, ahead of only Tampa Bay, Cleveland and St. Louis, all of which were eliminated late in the ALDS.
Nevertheless, Lawson will not be deterred from his approach.
« Our strengths will be our strengths, » he said. « And those are that we have the power and that we don’t pursue. »
It’s a philosophy that Lawson said he didn’t shy away from despite the team not hitting much during the playoffs.
« We’ve built things up over the season and we’re not going to try to build any new strengths this series, » Lawson said.
« What makes our offense really good is dictating, » said Matt Carpenter, who went 1-for-4 in the loss. “We are getting ahead and the pitchers are afraid to come into the area. We get walks and baserunners and it results in damage. You watch the at-bats in this series and it’s 0-1, 0-2 over everybody. You have to give them credit. I know no one wants to hear it.
An offense built around the home run didn’t hit one in two games, while Houston had key outbursts in all three.
« Everyone needs to dive deep into what we need to improve, » Aaron Judge said.
But another loss will end their season.
« We’re running out of time, » Carpenter said. « We have to find a way as a group to win games. »
“The playoffs [are] tough, man,” manager Aaron Boone said before the game. « And we’re up against probably the best pitching staff out there right now, so there’s going to be some bumps in there. We faced [Justin] Verlandese [and] Framber [Valdez]. We got two points in every game. It was not enough. It’s tough this time of year. You just have to keep moving forward, planning as best you can.