So, how has the 2011 Yankees preformed with 108 games (+two make-up games) remaining on the regular season’s schedule?
CC Sabathia is the obvious ace and continues to eat innings, posting a 6-3 record, with a 2.98 ERA over 85 innings pitched. The Yankee brass would be smart to not let Sabathia hit the free agent market when he opts out at the end of the season and give him two more years on his current contract.
Also, AJ Burnett has been a different pitcher, as mentally he is in much more control than in the past. Burnett has earned the fans and his teammates trust again, as he hasn’t allowed himself to collapse on the mound like we were so used to seeing every fourth or fifth start.
The Yankees line-up is top to bottom stacked, but they have been weaker than anticipated even with the most home-runs in all of baseball, a whooping 80 on the season so far.
The bats also have the most RBIs with 262 and the highest slugging percentage with .447. Still, leaving runners stranded on base is becoming an all to common issue that has to improve as the team heads into the summer months.
Another issue is the lack of small ball which has killed the team, but that seems to be improving.
The players are well aware of these issues and are the first to admit that they need to fine-tune this, which is half the battle right there.
Fact is this line-up has the ability to hit better and the team should not be losing as many games because of the bats.
Catcher Russell Martin has fit in like a glove in New York.
Not only has he earned the trust of the pitchers, his bat has come up big more than a few times already this season. Martin is posting nine home-runs, six doubles, 26 RBIs, 22 walks and has stolen five bases since donning the pinstripes.
Martin’s talent was never in question but whether he still had a wish to play after countless injuries was what no one knew for sure, but now we do and Yankee fans couldn’t be happier.
HONORABLE MENTION: Relief Pitcher David Robertson who has dominated under pressure and come up big when the team needed some help. Robertson has a 1.27 ERA, 35 strikeouts, allowed zero home-runs, in over 21 innings of work.
Rafael Soriano, as the $13 million set-up man has only brought negative energy and now he is on the DL with an inflamed elbow for the next two months.
Soriano was hated by almost everyone in Tampa Bay last year. His periodic hissy-fits over being brought into games in non-save situations, or being asked to pitch more than one inning wore thin on Rays manager Joe Maddon.
GM Brian Cashman had no qualms about making his opinion public that he did not think this was a good signing and that this was the Steinbrenner brothers and Yankees president Randy Levine’s call.
HONORABLE MENTION: Outfielder Nick Swisher who is a fan favorite but is in a contract season and he has to do better at the plate if he wants to stay in New York. Everyone from fans to teammates is rooting for Swish to fix himself so the above doesn’t have to happen.
In his second season in New York, Curtis Granderson has been unrelenting with his bat and just as substantial with his glove manning center-field.
Granderson proves the theory that hard work pays off, as his reputation as a guy who cannot hit lefties his entire career has gone to polarizing against all pitchers. Thus farGrandy is posting 55 hits, 16 home-runs, nine doubles, five triples, 36 RBIs, 22 walks and seven stolen bases.
Grandy does lead the team with 48 strikeouts, but long gone are the days skipper Joe Girardi would have to keep Granderson out of the line-up against left handed arms.
HONORABLE MENTION: Closer Mariano Rivera who is posting a 2.11 ERA with 13 saves on the season; and at age 41 this is why he is the best ever.
WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN IN THE NEXT TWO-THIRDS OF THE SEASON:
The Yankees could start off by beating the Red Sox, as they need to get that monkey off their backs and the series at home in a week would be a perfect time.
Also, regarding Garcia and Colon going injury free the rest of the season still remains to be seen. Both have torrid injury histories and it would not surprise anyone if one or both went down at some point. They have still both done already outperformed all expectations, but having them around the rest of the season would be ideal.
Everyone loves the home-run, but the Yankees know that a successful team who wants to play in October cannot rely on only the long-ball. This is not saying that they should stop hitting them, but if they want to stay in the mix in a tight AL East division, they have to improve on driving in base-runners the good old-fashioned way.
A-rod, Cano and Tex can carry a line-up anywhere and I expect them to start doing this more consistently in the summer months.
- Yanks’ bullpen depth at forefront sans Soriano (mlb.mlb.com)
- The Process Versus Yankees Pitchers (theprocessreport.com)
- Mets vs. Yankees: The 2011 Subway Series Part 1 Preview (bleacherreport.com)
- New York Yankees: Five Things We Learned on Opening Day (bleacherreport.com)
- New York Yankees News – 2/8/12 (pinstripealley.com)
- New York Yankees News – No News Is Good News? (pinstripealley.com)