TORONTO -- You couldn't really blame Nick Swisher for forgetting the count during his final at-bat on Friday night. After all, it can be tough to keep track after seeing so many pitches in the course of a single game.
When Jason Frasor missed with a 3-2 fastball leading off the ninth. Swisher was preparing to get right back in the box before home-plate umpire Bill Hohn pointed him toward first base. The payoff pitch was the eighth Swisher had seen in the at-bat on a night when he worked three 3-2 counts and saw a remarkable 30 pitches in all at the plate.
Swisher battled Toronto starter Brett Cecil in an 11-pitch at-bat in the first inning before grounding out to third. He walked his second time up on a 3-2 pitch and grounded into a double play on a 2-2 delivery in the sixth off Cecil. Cecil and Frasor combined to throw only 121 pitches on the night, and nearly one-quarter of those were to the Yankees' right fielder.
Swisher led the Yankees with 97 walks last season, and although he is earning free passes less frequently this season, he is putting the ball in play with authority more often. According to Fangraphs, Swisher is making contact 81 percent of the time he swings the bat, the highest mark of his career. His .372 batting average on balls in play is second on the team only to Robinson Cano, and it's possible it's not a fluke. A robust 26.1 percent of balls Swisher puts in play are line drives, easily the highest mark of his career.
"I saw from Day 1 in Spring Training, [Swisher's] contact was hard and consistent," manager Joe Girardi said on Friday. "And it hasn't stopped. I don't think Swish has ever been one to lack confidence, but the numbers are really showing."