Hey everyone! And welcome to the fourth edition of “Yankee Yapping.” Sorry I didn’t type this up yesterday, there was a problem with my internet, but thankfully it’s solved.
Away we go!
My thoughts on…
The Post All-Star Break Winning Streak
Well, it’s safe to say that since the All-Star Break, the Yanks are the best in the majors. Posting a record of 10-1 since the mid-summer classic, the Bronx Bombers are in first place, 2 ½ games ahead of the Boston Red Sox in the American League Eastern Division standings.
I said in the third installment of “Yankee Yapping” that Robinson Cano and CC Sabathia are two players that put up their best efforts in the second half of the season. That thought is proving to be true.
At press time Cano is 11 for his last 34 with two home runs and eight RBIs over the last 10 games. He has only struck out five times over that span, and is currently sporting a .311 batting average.
Sabathia has only made two starts since the All-Star break and he has won both of them. On July 18, he beat Detroit as he went seven innings and gave up no runs on five hits. In that game Sabathia walked three and struck out four.
His second start came on July 23, and he beat Oakland going seven innings, and giving up three earned runs on nine hits. He walked none and matched his previous strikeout count with four.
Sabathia gets the ball again tonight at Tampa Bay, hoping to notch his 11th win of the 2009 season.
The bottom line is pretty much that the Yankees are playing the best ball we the fans have seen in a long time. On one of the recent YES Network broadcasts, former Yankee warrior/right fielder Paul O’Neill stated that the team reminds him of the Dynasty teams of the late 1990s.
Hopefully the 2009 season ends the same way as those Dynasty teams. The way the ’09 Yanks have been playing, there is a chance it might.
My Latest Trip to the New Stadium
I have been fortunate enough this year to (so far) get out to three games at the new Yankee Stadium.
My first trip (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/161723-my-first-trip-to-the-new-yankee-stadium-the-experience-of-a-lifetime) came on Apr. 22 against the Oakland Athletics.
It was an amazing experience, and it turned out to be historical.
Not only was it the first time two players hit back-to-back home runs in the new ballpark (Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera did it in the bottom of the second) but Cabrera hit the first walk-off home run in the new stadium to win the game for the Yanks.
The second game I attended was on May 15, the beginning of “walk-off weekend” against the Minnesota Twins.
It was Alex Rodriguez’s first game at the new Yankee Stadium, and Brett Gardner provided me with a memory I’ll never forget: hitting an unbelievable inside-the-park home run. Cabrera also had the game-winning hit and the Yanks once again claimed victory.
Last Wednesday (July 22) was my latest trip to the new Yankee Stadium, and it was another good game as the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles, 6-4.
I had been wanting to see A.J. Burnett pitch for quite some time (if you haven’t noticed, he and I both share the same initials; CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes started the other two games I attended) and I finally got my wish.
Burnett looked strong through the seven innings he pitched, and only gave up two runs on six hits. He walked three batters and punched out six.
The Yankees led 6-2 in the top half of the ninth, and the afternoon was nearly ruined by Brian Bruney, who came in and gave up back-to-back home runs to Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.
Thankfully Mariano Rivera came in to nail it down and give the Yanks a win and a sweep of the O’s. (Yankees taking congratulations after the game pictured above)
It’s great knowing that the Yankees have won every game I have been to this season, and like the other games I’ve been to this year, it was historical.
It was more historical for me as a fan because it was the first time I have ever seen the Orioles play a game against the Yankees. With that, I have now seen the Yankees play every team in the American League at least once in my lifetime.
It’s strange how the Yankees’ bullpen has been working lately.
Some of the pitchers are lights out and some of them struggle to get ahead of the batters and get outs.
For example, on Wednesday when I went to the game, the Yankees were leading 6-2 in the top of the ninth. It’s a non-save situation, the team is up by four runs, Bruney comes in and gets two quick outs.
He then proceeds to give up two solo homers in success of each other, forcing a save situation and Rivera into the game.
Bruney has not been performing well, that’s certainly been evident.
But then there are other pitchers who come and they’re untouchable. Of course Rivera falls into the category, but what about Phil Hughes?
He currently holds a streak of 23 and 1/3 innings without allowing a run, the longest streak since Rivera tossed 23 scoreless innings in 2005. Phil Hughes has been Phil-thy.
Hughes has become a rock in the Yankee bullpen, and it may have been the best thing for him. I noticed when he was a starter, his velocity would top off at 93, maybe 94 miles per hour. But on Sunday vs. Oakland in the later innings in relief, he was blowing 95-97 mph fastballs.
Last week on ESPN, they stated that the Boston ‘pen was better than the Yankee ‘pen. That may be true with some pitchers who haven’t been performing well like Bruney, but when you put it into perspective the Yankee bullpen has come alive and is probably the best in baseball at the moment.
And if ESPN still thinks the Boston bullpen is better, they should look at the standings. The Yankees are in first place (in part) because of the solid work from their relievers.
It’s not that Sergio Mitre has been all that terrible. He has made two starts and he’s 1-0 with a 5.91 ERA.
But if you really look at his numbers, he has given up 17 hits in 10 2/3 innings against two of the worst teams in the league right now (Baltimore and Oakland). Would we really trust him to take the ball against the Red Sox in a game we need to win?
I’m not quite sure about that.
On the YES Network’s “Joe Girardi Show” this past Sunday, the Yankee manager made it known that there could be trades happening after the deadline, which is Friday.
If the Yankees honestly have to, they should look to a team that has fallen out of contention and pick up a starter that can help them. One name that I heard mentioned in the rumor talk was Doug Davis of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
At press time Arizona is 43-57, 19 ½ games out the National League West good for fourth place in their division. It’s obvious they are not contenders.
Davis is not having the best year of his career either, as he currently sits at 5-10 with a 3.76 ERA. He has not been consistent this season, but who knows. If given another chance in the American League, he might succeed.
He has gotten the D’Backs into the seventh inning in six of his last 10 starts. But he also has a record of 3-4 over that span.
It probably would not be the wisest move for the Yanks to acquire a pitcher who has been struggling like Davis (personally, I think it was bad to even consider it, but like I said, who knows—he could turn it around)
And if Mitre is going to be as unpredictable as he has been, the Yanks need to look for someone somewhere to fill that fifth spot.
Just looking at how things ended for the Yanks in 2006, it’s not wise to go into the playoffs with only four guys who can give you a quality start.
We have Sabathia, Burnett, Joba Chamberlain, and Andy Pettitte. Now we need a fifth guy or Mitre to dazzle us and prove himself worthy in his next couple starts.
Milestone Home Run
In last night’s 11-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Johnny Damon smashed his 200th career home run, a shot that sailed over the right field fence.
Congratulations to Damon for belting his 200th lifetime home run. The only part of it that is somewhat sour is that it did not come at home. I’m sure Damon doesn’t care where it came as long as it helped the Yankees win, which in a lot of ways it did.
When Damon first defected from Boston, he was not known as a home run hitter. Coming to the Yankees in ’06, the most home runs he had ever hit in a single season was 20 in 2004, a year he won a World Title with the Red Sox.
In his first season in New York, he set a new career-high with 24 round trippers.
Right now Damon has 17 for the year, and has matched his total from last year. If you want my opinion, I predict he’ll end this year with 26 big flies, setting a new career-high for himself.
I think no matter what happens the Yankees should re-sign him. He is in the final year of his contract with the Yanks, and I think the way he is playing this season on both sides of the field, he will earn himself (at least) a one-year deal.
Well, that does it for this week’s edition of “Yankee Yapping.” I’ll be back next week with more topics and analysis.
Until then, Go Yankees!