One knock on the 2012 Yankees is that they relied too much on the home run. While many felt that this was nonsense, one cannot refute the Yankees lacking ability to string hits together in big spots and manufacture runs in the Postseason. A big reason for this may have been the season long injury to Brett Gardner. Gardner is credited as the man who makes the Yankees offense diverse.
A guy who, at the plate, can be defined as someone who grinds out at bats. Gardner knows how to make a pitcher work. He is also adept at drawing the all important walk. Also, batting him 9th turns the lineup over earlier, giving the Yankees an extra table setter for their big bats in the middle of the lineup. And with Derek Jeter’s ability to drive the ball to right field, Gardner’s speed allows him to go first to third on a regular basis. Having Gardner in the lineup presents many more opportunities for the Yankees to score without the benefit of the big hit.
Gardner’s speed is another area in which he influences the Yankee offense. His speed means that the opposing pitcher must constantly be aware of the threat to steal. This will result in disrupted timing by the pitcher and more fastballs to the plate.