Michael King’s mechanical woes persist forcing Yankees to pay the price in clutch situation

Michael King's first pitch led to a home run and tHE Yankees lose 4-2 to the Rangers on June 23, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.

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Roughly a fortnight ago, Michael King believed that he had successfully resolved the issue he was facing. However, it came to haunt the pitcher at a crucial Juncture and the Yankees ended up with a 4-2 defeat against the Rangers in extra innings.

Before Friday, the right-handed pitcher found himself in a challenging situation as he had allowed at least one earned run in four out of his last five appearances. During that stretch, Michael King’s ERA stood at a disappointing 9.95. However, things took a turn for the worse in his latest outing.

Michael King admitted that he failed to execute the pitch, acknowledging that he has been making ongoing mechanical adjustments in recent weeks to improve his performance on the mound. Since June 3, King has seen his ERA rise from a promising 1.65 to a still respectable 3.15.

Boone mentioned that they have identified something in Michael King’s setup that they believe will improve his performance and restore his sharpness and power. However, he acknowledged that it did not have an immediate impact on the game.

Michael King’s troubles forced a defeat on the Yankees

Trailing behind the Rangers in the eighth inning on Friday night, the Yankees’ struggling offense managed to mount a comeback. It was a rare moment of resurgence for an offense that has been performing poorly and has the lowest statistics among all MLB teams this month.

Neither team managed to score in the ninth inning, but the crowd of 44,822 at Yankee Stadium remained engaged, eagerly anticipating an explosion of excitement following the previous inning’s comeback.

However, the situation took a turn when Adolis Garcia crushed the initial delivery from Michael King in the 10th inning, resulting in a two-run home run, and ultimately leading to a 4-2 defeat for the Yankees against the Rangers.

Garcia took advantage of Michael King’s low, over-the-plate 79 mph slider and sent it soaring. Following the defeat, Michael King’s season record fell to 1-4, causing his earned run average (ERA) to increase to 3.15.

Michael King acknowledged that he couldn’t throw the ball over the middle, stating that the opposing hitter was formidable. He recognized that any mistakes he made would likely be capitalized upon, and expressed his disappointment in not being able to execute the pitch effectively.

No end to Michael King’s royal troubles

It didn’t take much time for Yankees skipper Aaron Boone to recognize that one of their crucial bullpen assets is still grappling with an unresolved mechanical issue. Michael King didn’t need much time to come to that realization, either.

Boone believed the team had identified a specific aspect of Michael King’s arrangement that could account for his recent performance, as he had conceded seven runs (with six being earned) in his previous five appearances leading up to Friday.

Upon comparing videos of Michael King’s performances from the current season to those of 2022, the Yankees observed a notable difference. They discovered that the pitcher’s positioning toward the plate was more squared, and he admitted that he was lacking proper back leg drive.

michael-king-ny-yankees
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

In an attempt to facilitate an easier leg drive, adjustments were made to Michael King’s positioning. However, he has since grappled with finding the right balance between pitching with a sense of freedom during a game and consciously evaluating whether he is meeting the newly set benchmarks.

Michael King acknowledged that in his first couple of attempts, he was overly focused on his mechanics. However, he soon realized that this mentality was not effective when facing skilled hitters in the big leagues. As a result, he adjusted his approach, directing his attention towards working on mechanics during catch play and bullpens. Despite his efforts, he found himself falling back into the same habits when actually facing hitters.

Michael King acknowledged that his performances in recent outings have been fluctuating, and he emphasized the need to find the right rhythm or groove to improve his consistency.

Boone expressed his optimism that the modifications made would enable Michael King to regain the sharpness and effectiveness in all of his pitches, encompassing his sinker and breaking balls.

Boone mentioned that Michael King has been missing the additional level of sharpness that he typically exhibits when he is performing exceptionally well. However, despite their efforts, that desired level of performance did not materialize on Friday.

The pitcher recognized that the process of finding the right adjustments takes time. Despite actively working on it through several bullpen sessions over the past week, Michael King admitted that he has not yet experienced the breakthrough he is seeking.

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