It’s incredible how sometimes one player can make such a huge impact on an entire team’s performance.
Not to say that Nick Swisher deserves all the credit for yesterday’s monster win over the Kansas City Royals, but after the offensive eruption that occurred, it may be some indication that the Yankees simply seem to swing better when Swish is in the lineup this year.
After a six-game layoff, due to a strained hamstring, the bombers welcomed Swisher back to the lineup yesterday as the designated hitter. He went just 1-5 on the game, but his one hit was a big one, that made it over the right field wall for his seventh home run on the season. This came in addition to a whopping grand slam earlier in the same inning, off the bat of Robinson Cano, which gave the Yanks a six-run third inning and a comfortable lead. They stretched the led further in the eighth inning after a three-run homer from Alex Rodriquez, making it 10-4, a score they’d hang on to win by.
On the year, Swisher is batting .279, with a team-leading 24 RBIs. That RBI production is something that was clearly missed by the Yankees in those six games he spent stuck in the dugout. The Yankees went 2-4 during the span that he was forced to sit out, and for the most part, their offense went silent after the injury. In the four losses without Swish, New York was only able to muster up a total of five measly runs and in their two wins, eight total.
Prior to Swisher going down, the Yankees were 13-9, only 1.5 games back in the division. They now hold a record of 15-13 and have fallen to 4.0 games behind in the AL East. The offense seemed to be slightly more efficient as well before Swisher’s injury. Through the first 21 games played, the bombers were averaging 5.6 runs per game, posting five or more runs in 16 of those games, two of which they scored more than ten in.
During the six-game span that Swisher was out of the lineup, the sluggers slumped and it showed as the offensive production dropped off drastically, and the Yankees only averaged 2.1 runs per game in that time. Yet, as soon as they get Swisher off of the bench and back in his first game, there’s an offensive explosion and for the third time this season, the bombers put up ten or more runs in a game.
Now, it’s only been one game since Swisher’s return, and it’d be absolutely premature to attribute this offensive success entirely to one person. But something is to be said about how the Yankees have performed in 2012 when their right-fielder has been healthy. Baseball is a game that takes a collaborative effort from the nine individuals in the lineup, and it seems as though those other eight individuals around Swisher step it up a bit more when he’s playing. Whether it’s the charisma and energy he brings to New York, his big bat at the plate, or solid defense in right, look for the Yankees to continue feeding off of whatever spark Nick Swisher seems to be providing for the club thus far.