Struggling Yankees bullpen illustrates mental challenges of the game

The past two weeks have been uncharacteristically brutal for the Yankees’ bullpen.

One of the game’s best relief groups over the first half of the season, Yankees relievers have posted an awful 5.52 ERA over the past two weeks, the third-worst mark in the AL. The bullpen’s poor performance since mid-June is a major reason why New York fell out of first place in the AL East, four games behind Boston.

To Martin’s point, with that playing time, Smoak is showcasing what he can do: His first All-Star appearance was bolstered on a .300 average NFL Cheap Jerseys Nike and 22 homers in the first half, both career highs. He’s got an OPS way over .900 and is on pace to shatter his previous career-high of .768. The playing time has certainly helped, and Martin said it’s showed in his approach.

“It’s not that he’s swinging less aggressively, it just looks like there’s less effort in his swing. It’s letting him swing at the pitches he Cheap Laker Jerseys Sale wants to. He’s not chasing,” Martin told SN.

“They threw the book out on him. You’d pitch him in, and then you’d throw him breaking balls down, below the zone. He’s not swinging at those pitches anymore. He’s forcing guys to throw strikes over the plate. With that power, with that raw power, and that swing, he’s gonna crush the ball, and that’s what he’s doing.”

Though Smoak played in 126 games last season, 82 were at first base. As with pitchers, position players like to know their roles. Being the Jays’ everyday first baseman this year only helped Smoak.

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