Will more bunting fix the Yankees offense?
The Yankees have spent most of the season proudly flexing their muscles and telling everyone that they’re a team built around home runs. It has gotten them this far, but now hitting coach Kevin Long is suggesting that if the Yankees want to hang some of that red, white and blue playoff bunting around Yankee Stadium, they may need to square up and drop a few down first.
Long believes that the Yankees may try having more of their hitters sacrifice runners over to get the flagging offense back on track. New York has been held to six or less hits in five straight games, something that hasn’t happened for them since Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 1990.
“Some of it has to do with some pitching and some quality pitches, but a lot of it has to do with — we’ve got to get back to the basics,” Long said. “We’ve got start doing some things. We might start having some guys bunt that you don’t normally see bunt. That might have to be the case right now, until we get it going.”
A perfect example, Long said, could have been the third inning of the Yankees’ 5-2 loss to the Rays. Derek Jeter singled and Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch to start the inning, but the Yankees were turned aside as Nick Swisher struck out and Robinson Cano hit into an inning-ending double play.
“Maybe we take a guy like Swisher in the third inning today, when it’s first and second with nobody out; maybe he bunts,” Long said. “We’re going to talk about that and we’re going to address some of those things, and we’ll see if we can’t turn it around.”
Long said that the Yankees need to try something other than sitting around and waiting for big home runs, and said the suggestion shouldn’t be taken as an indication of panic.
“It’s not desperation, it’s about playing baseball,” Long said. “In playoff baseball, Justin Verlander’s out there and it’s first and second. What are you going to do? That’s the way it is. You have to do these things. I think we need to get more in that mode right now, and hopefully that turns it around.”