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Yankees need to improve clutch hitting

Though the Yankees still hold one of the best records in baseball halfway through the season, holes are starting to appear in parts of their performance. One hole, in particular, is their ability to hit in the clutch.

Overall the team’s .248 batting average with runners in scoring position ranks a middling 15th. Prior to Monday’s doubleheader, they actually ranked 22nd. Potential AL playoff opponents Boston, Houston and Cleveland rank 1st, 2nd 11th respectively. While a couple Yankees are performing well, most are having a tough go with runners in scoring position.

Didi Gregorius had big hits in April, but has since performed poorly in the clutch. The shortstop is hitting just .202 with 3 home runs with RISP. With two outs and RISP? Just .125. Aaron Hicks, though heating up lately, isn’t much better. He’s hitting just .231 with RISP and .217 when it’s with two outs. Giancarlo Stanton has been slightly better, hitting .221 with RISP but hitting a more robust .257 with a pair of home runs with two outs and RISP. Still though, not great.

Aaron Judge, by contrast, has actually performed quite well in the clutch this season. The slugger has shredded pitching to a .303 average and three home runs with RISP. That number drops slightly to .280 with two outs.

It’s felt like Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar have each had their fair share of clutch hits, with both contributing to late-inning heroics. But while that’s true of Torres, who’s hitting .333 with seven home runs with RISP, Andujar has struggled to just a .210 batting average. In fact, Andujar is hitting a paltry .120 with two outs and RISP, while Torres performs even better in the clutch, hitting .360.

Unsurprisingly, Greg Bird is hitting .143 with RISP. Though he’s actually 3-12 in the small sample size of RISP and two outs. Neil Walker is hitting a decent .255 with RISP. Gardner .254. Gary Sanchez .226. Nothing spectacular. In their limited at-bats, Brandon Drury and Austin Romine have both hit well in the clutch at .429 and .367 with RISP respectively. But Drury was sent down and Austin will be relegated to backup once Sanchez returns.

But the main issue is that outside of Judge and the now-injured Torres, the Yankees’ regulars aren’t performing well in the clutch. Sure they score a lot of runs, usually via the long ball, but they’re not getting the timely hits needed when the home run eludes them. If the Yankees plan for a deep October run, they’ll need to improve upon these numbers. Especially in typically close playoff games against impressive AL starting rotations.