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Although the Yankees havent been lighting it up lately neither has the Rays who have lost four in a row complements of the Red Hot Blue Jays. With the Yankees win today it puts thier lead back at a game and a half. The Red Sox on the other hand fall back to six games out and the door seems to be closing on whatever slim playoff hopes they had.
The Yankees even with the best record in baseball are not without their concerns. First of all is that Alex Rodriguez was hit by a line drive during batting practice today that has him day to day with a contusion. Also Javy Vazquez seems to be experiencing a bit of dead arm as he was unable to hit 90 on the gun in his loss to the Red Sox the other day. Vazquez has been the Yankees second best starter of late winning four of his last six starts with an ERA of 3.83 and has lowered his ERA for the season to 4.69. The Yankees believe its a mild case of dead arm that he will be able to work through by lightening his workload between starts.
On a good note Andy Pettitte pitched a bull pen without feeling any pain and may be only about a week away from returning to the rotation. Alfredo Aceves whose importance is immeasurable may be headed to a rehab assignment and will hopefully be back with the team for the stretch run to the playoffs. Newly acquired Kerry Wood has been working with Yankees pitching coach Dave Iiland who immediately was able to correct some minor mechanical problems that have already started to show results as he looked pretty sharp in his last outing.
After Sabathia’s win today ,his 150th of his career ,the Yankees tie the series at one. Tomorrow night two former marlin teammates in Josh Beckett and AJ Burnett will face off against each other on Sunday night baseball on espn at 8:00pm
The Yankees looked more like the Yankees in their impressive 4-2 victory over the Mariners. CC Sabathia pitched his heart out going 7 and 2/3 shut out innings before a pass pass ball and a single tied the game. In the Bottom of the eighth his teammates picked him up and a Texeira single and an A-Bomb gave the Yankees the 4-2 Victory that Mariano put away in the ninth for his 18th Save lowering his ERA to .083, which is amazing to me that at 40 he most likely will have 40 saves this year.
Multi hit games from Texeria (who has a 12 game hitting streak) and A-Rod were crutial to this victory. The middle of the order which was sluggish out of the gate this year is starting to pick up steam. Robinson Cano (who has not been sluggish at all) hit another home run as well his 16th of the year and his 54th Rbi which for a couple of innings led the Yankees until Arod took the RBI lead back with his eighth inning winning HR. Cano is batting .353 with 53 RBI and 16 HR, where did this guy come from. Last season he hit 25 HR and 85 RBI this year Im predicting 40HR and 125 RBI. Prior to 2009 his highest HR total in previous four years was 19 with his average being 14. Whatever they are feeding second baseman in the DR they need to give some to the rest of the team. Gardner was back in the line-up and although he was 0-3 he should have been 1-3 as he was robbed by a diving catch. He didn’t appear to have any ill effects from his sore wrist and looked fine. Nick Swisher is another guy that has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees this year batting .287 currently and has 79 hits. He is a career .250 hitter and has a chance of having 200 hits this year and I suspect close to 30 HR and 100 RBI’s.
This confuses the off-season for the Yankees who were projected to go after Crawford but with him swinging the bat well and playing solid defense perhaps he gets another contract offer. I like having Gardner play every day but if they signed Crawford would you rather have Gardener or Granderson as an everyday guy? Tough tough call. I think the off-season will see the Yankees make a big splash in pitching and a smaller splash for a veteran outfielder who can DH and act as a fourth spelling the end of the Nick Johnson fiasco. Now that you think about it this wouldn’t be such a bad move at the trade deadline. Can anyone say Jose’ Guillen . I have heard some people speculate that the Yankees might trade for Cliff Lee prior to the deadline. Why would this make any sense. They can pick him up in the off-season as a free agent and keep their best prospects. Lee will go to a team that is on the fringe of contention that is willing to give up their best young talent for a shot at the WS this year. My best guess Rangers or Mets.
That being said some bull pen help wouldn’t be a bad move. Chan Ho Park has been an embarrassment. There are some quality guys out their that could help the Yankees and wouldn’t cost the farm.Did anyone notice that Mark Prior is available for a low risk deal and showed the ability to throw in the 90’s at a workout. Yankees should think about that .
This game was exactly what the Yankees needed. It had some key elements that will get the Yankees out of the mini slump they have been sliding into.
1. Dominate performance from AJ: Actually it was his second great outing in a row. The two unearned runs hurt him a bit but his teammates picked him up with a five run seventh. Being able to go out and pitch the eighth with a pitch count already over 100 and recording two k”s was huge.
2. Mark Texeria feeling and looking like himself again. His three run homer in the Seventh was a Monster into the bleachers and you could tell he was feeling more comfortable and confident even with two strikes on him. Look for Tex to be the best hitter in the league in June, Id bet money on it. Except maybe Robinson Cano who Is my early bet for MVP and most certainly an all-star appearance. Cano is hitting .362 with 10 homers and 37 RBI. Even if he was mediocre for the rest of the season he would still have great numbers. Don’t count on that happening. Its a bit early but is it possible he could take a run at .400?? Like I said a little early but I wouldn’t be surprised if you see him around .380 in August.
3. Mariano looking like Mariano: Mo had a rough couple of outings giving up the grand slam and all but his last three appearances have shown that he is not slipping even one little bit.
4.Brett Gardner: Although his batting average has slipped a bit he still has hit safely i8n six of his last ten games. I don’t care what anyone says having Granderson back in the two hole will let Gardner steal more bases. It will also give Jeter more hits. Pitchers make mistakes when Brett is on base. Nobody hits mistakes better than Derek Jeter.
5. Speaking of Derek Jeter do you realize he is hitting close to .300 now and has 19 hits in his last ten games. He has two or more hits in 7 of his last 8 games.
6. Who said Granderson cant hit lefties? Seems the last couple of times he has been up in a big spot against a lefty he hit a double.
So there is a lot of things to be happy about right now to be only 3.5 out at the end of May compared to where we were at this time last year looks pretty good.
There are also a couple of concerns. Beyond Rivera the Bull pen has not been good as a team their ERA is over 4 and are among the worst in the league. Chamberlain is like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Robertson has looked a bit batter of late. Aceves is on the DL and that is a killer they need him healthy he is very important. Mitre has been solid and that helps but he cant go out there every day. Domaso Marte has been horrible and Logan was sent back down because he wasn’t performing either. So the Yankees have made a couple of moves in bringing back Chad Gaudin, who was crucial for the Yankees last year and Josh Towers who I am a big fan of. Towers was released by the Dodgers on Friday after pitching horible in tripple A. But Towers is one of those guys who has a funky delivery and can strike guys out and hell anything is better than putting Marte out there against a right handed batter. Id would bring back Jesse Orosco if I thought it would help.
Bottom line if the starters keep going seven or eight innings it wont matter, and the rotation is why the Yankees are a better team than last years world champs.