On the other hand, it hasn’t always seemed all bad for Swisher. He did draw four walks in those seven games including three over the weekend in Baltimore, and he got hit in the leg by a pitch to start a rally Friday night. In addition, he had a home run and a double robbed by the Orioles’ defense that night, all of which prompted me to observe that Swisher seems to get into prolonged funks where he can’t catch a break during my radio appearance Sunday night. Unfortunately for me, it looks like I might have been guilty of confirmation bias in that assessment.
It’s fairly hard to quantify bad luck in such a small sample, but one place we can start is by looking at strikeouts, since hitters can control those outcomes to a much greater extent than where a batting ball lands. And in this regard, Swisher comes out looking pretty darn bad. Going back to August 27th, the first game of the Toronto series, Swisher has struck out a whopping 20 times in the 13 games played in that span, and has three separate three strikeout performances (including one four strikeout effort for good measure). Those strikeouts have come opposite seven walks and just one extra base hit (a home run in the series opener against Toronto), so there’s not very much in the way of positive trade offs for all of the punch outs either. Suffice it to say, these numbers aren’t exactly encouraging when it comes to assessing Swisher’s recent performance at the plate.
But what about his batted balls? Has he been having an unusually difficult time finding holes in the field? Well here’s his spray chart over that time period:
Again, we’re only dealing with two weeks worth of data here, but I don’t see anything particularly unusual here. Lots of fairly shallow flies to the outfield and outs made around the infield, which is basically what you would expect to see from someone making weak-ish contact. Heck, Swisher even has three hits that landed on the infield, and one that looks like a bloop single to right-center. So it would appear that I was just plain wrong on this one: Swisher doesn’t seem to be getting unlucky at all, he’s just not getting the job done offensively right now. Why is that? I have no idea. I guess it will get chalked up to his tendency to not play well when it matter most or pressing to make his numbers look good in a contract year, but whatever the case is he needs to get it figured out quickly, because he’s a total black hole in the lineup right now, and the Yankees really need him to be picking up some of the slack while Mark Teixeira misses even more time with his calf injury.