A tale of two SwishersBy
Oh, Nick Swisher, where have you gone?
Last night, the Yanks knocked out seven extra-base hits. They hammered a home run, two triples and four doubles against the Blue Jays pitchers, and only two of the starting nine failed to hit. A-Rod went 0-for-2 but walked three times, and Nick Swisher, once the 2009 Yankees’ most popular player, went 0-for-5.
For Swisher, Wednesday night’s 0-fer was another in a long line of disappointing May efforts. On the month, he is not doing much of anything. After an April in which he hit .312/.430/.714 with 7 HR and 19 RBI, Swisher has basically disappeared. In May, he is 3 for 30. He’s hitting .100 with a .243 OBP and a .233 slugging. He has just one double and one home run to complement his two RBI, and he has struck out 16 times this month. That isn’t what the Yankees hoped to get out of Swisher this month.
The Yankees right now have few options to pursue in dealing with Swisher. They acquired him for nothing and owe him a good deal of money over the next few seasons. They know what he can do, but they also know — as the 2008 White Sox could tell us — how bad he can be when things aren’t going his way. With Xavier Nady out, though, Swisher will get his hacks in every day.
I have my own pet theories. I think Swisher’s elbow, hurt last week on a hit-by-pitch, may be impacting his hitting more than he is letting on. I think the Yankee lineup, with Nady on the shelf, is far too depleted for Joe Girardi to bench Swisher. However, at this point, the Yanks’ right fielder is doing little to help the team.
Swisher’s numbers in May suffer from a clear sample size bias. He has just 30 ABs, and the season is still young. Still, as the injured Yankees tend to their wounds, the team needs Swisher to step up again. They can’t expect a an OPS over 1.100, but they need more than a .476 OPS mark. The team needs an impact player who can get on base and score some runs. Right now, Swisher isn’t cutting it, and it just goes to show last month’s hero can be this month’s goat.