SPANISH HARLEM – I read an article on Tuesday by Joel Sherman from the New York Post that stated for the first time in history there were more strikeouts than hits for the month of April. That got me thinking about conversations I had with a fellow Yankees fan about the team only scoring via the homer. My friend gets totally pissed off when guys strikeout with men on base, he wants the team to play small ball and get runners over but that’s not how the Yankees are built. They are built to get on base and score runs in bunches, usually by the homerun.
On Tuesday the Yankees faced Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros. Pitching pretty much dominated that game with Verlander adding 14 strikeouts and zero walks before being taken out. The 9th inning started with the Astros’ closer Ken Giles coming into a 0-0 game and looking to keep the game scoreless. His intentions was to allow his team an opportunity to win the game in the bottom half of the inning but as we all know, that did not happen. After a single and double by Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez hit a homerun that gave the Yankees the lead for good. The first thing I did was text my friend “I bet you don’t hate the home run right now“.
The game has changed in so many ways since I was a kid. I grew up at the peak of “The Home run Era“, which would later become “The Steroid Era” and the game couldn’t be more popular at that time. Power hitters were coveted, not only because they provided home runs but they brought fans to the seats. The bad thing about power hitters, they generally swing and miss a whole lot. The more power guys you have on the team, the more strikeouts your team will compile and I for one don’t mind it at all. The straight contact hitter is almost gone from game unless you have another exceptional trait like speed or defense and rightfully so. You can get a bunch of hits in a game and still not score any runs, home runs count and it will always be a commodity. Guys like Tony Gwynn are rare, he was a high contact player that produced a lot of runs and almost never struck out. The game of baseball has changed but it will always be fun. Nobody likes strikeouts unless it’s your team doing the deed, so don’t worry about the swings and misses and enjoy the home runs.
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