Across two games against the Houston Astros in the ALCS, the Yankees have scored just four combined runs compared to seven by their opposition. An Alex Bregman three-run homer in the third inning was the difference between the Yankees winning a game in Houston, acquiring an advantage going back to the Bronx, or falling two games behind and playing from a defensive position.
The Yankees’ problem is simple, their offense is faltering in the biggest moments of the postseason after having a dominant 2022 regular season. One of the quieter contributors during the playoffs has been superstar slugger Aaron Judge, who is in line to earn a substantial amount in free agency. He had one of the best seasons in MLB history, hitting .311 with a 42.5% on-base rate, 62 homers, and 131 RBIs.
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The Yankees need more from Aaron Judge:
Judge’s numbers during the postseason have been uninspiring, to say the least. Across 28 at-bats, Judge is hitting .179 with a 20.7% on-base rate, including two homers, three RBIs, and 12 strikeouts. This is not the version the Yankees anticipated, but his postseason numbers, in general are historically bad.
Over 42 playoff games, Judge hits .221 with a 32% on-base rate, including 13 homers and 25 RBIs. His 33.3% strikeout rate is elevated by almost 8% on his career average.
While Judge just barely missed a home run in Game 2 in the eighth inning, with the ball falling just short of the right field wall, almost isn’t enough.
“We’ve got a great offense; I think we’ve just got to get back to what has gotten us to this position and what helped us win the division,” Judge said. “If that’s contact, moving guys over, coming up with that big hit — we’ll figure it out and be ready.”
The Astros are simply beating the Yankees at their own game, utilizing the long ball to their advantage. However, both Judge and Giancarlo Stanton believe that a bit more contact hitting and putting the ball and play could go a long way toward the Yankees finding ways to put runs on the board.
“We’ve got to shorten up a little bit and put the ball in play. You never know what can happen if you put the ball in play.”
The real variable here is their insane strikeout rate through two games. Striking out 30 times is unacceptable and is undoubtedly a losing recipe. At some point, the Yankees need to focus on making contact rather than always swinging for the fences against elite pitching.