Sports Update 

The Yankees’ crime was solved by pitching the Astros

October 19, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees right-hander Aaron Judge (99) reacts after hitting against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning in game one of the ALCS at the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In the regular season, the Yankees had some of the best offenders in the sport. They’ve always been a top 5 attacker in the sport, and yet the Houston Astros have faced extreme cold. Baseball is a tough sport, but this series feels like déjà vu to many Yankee fans.

Moving to Minute Maid Park feels like a house of horror, and the Yankees are now facing a 2-0 deficit in the ALCS. They could fall 3-0 down in the ALCS; A death sentence to any team, but to avoid this fate, they will have to overcome the victory of the Astros. The issue is that the Yankees had their attack resolved by Astro Pitching. And there’s a very real chance that that’s what brings them home again.

Breaking Balls dominate the Yankees:

The use of the Houston Astros versus the Yankees was amazing:

  • Pitches collapse: 49%
  • Fastballs: 46.4%
  • Offset speed: 4.6%

The Astros gave the Yankees a heavy dose of tough pitch that kept the Yankees lopsided across all series. The Yankees couldn’t hit a cracking ball if their lives depended on it now, and the numbers back this up. A warning for those with a weak stomach as this data would be very upsetting to any Yankee fan.

  • 59.5% as%
  • .151 wOBA
  • .200 SLG
  • .086 BA

It’s no exaggeration to say that the Yankees hit like bowlers. Let’s compare how shooters hit in 2021:

  • 44.8% as%
  • .132 WOBA
  • .137 SLG
  • 108 BA

Yes, the Yankees against broken balls score 14.7% more and hit 0.022 worse than bowlers who hit in 2021 in a stagnant environment. The crushing ball is neutralizing this team, and the Astros have no plans to deviate from that plan. This is not a defect from the carried over regular season, as is the Yankees’ broken ball rating compared to other teams:

  • 28.2% as% (8 minimum)
  • .304 wOBA (first)
  • .412 SLG (first)
  • .226 BA (8)

It was one of the best attacks in baseball against chipped balls, yet the Astros used what was strength for them and turned it into a disadvantage. The Yankees chase a lot, and the team that previously showed incredible patience (10.1% BB%, the best in MLB) is now running only 5.7% of the time and taking ugly swings in huge territories.

With the Yankees showing them Can Hitting broken pitches in the regular season, how do we get the Yankees to start doing it again?

The Yankees need to stop chasing

Signs of urgent irregularity usually appear in their O-Swing rates. O-Swing means out-of-zone swing, also known as stalking. Against Framber Valdez, the Yankees swung 42% of the pitches he kicked out of the strike zone. Valdez relied heavily on his curve ball, a floor he used 40% of the time at the start of Game 2; He’s only used his curve ball 40% or more at the start once this season. The Yankees moved on 67% of all solitary balls thrown by Framber Valdez that night, and the Yankees swung on 48% of the solitary balls thrown out of the area. Why are you throwing anything else? The Yankees couldn’t get away from him, so Valdez kept throwing it.

The rest of the Astros picked up on that trend too, let’s take a look at how much speedball Brian Abreu and Ryan Presley hate it:

  • Brian Abreu: 45% regular season use? 21% used in game 2 (-24%)
  • Ryan Pressley: 32.6% regular season use? 5% use in game 2 (-27.6%)

The Yankees didn’t pick up on these trends, and against these two, they hit 4 times against 8 hitters; Not great. It’s not enough for this team to start hitting broken balls, but they have to show they can read it too since the Astros have shown they have no problem throwing as many things as possible to make the Yankees blow a ton in the post-season.

The series is not over, but if the Yankees want to return to this series, they need to start dealing with broken balls because the Astros have planned the Yankees perfectly so far.

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