Another month of the season, another edition of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. May brought more injuries for the Yankees (surprise, surprise), but a lot of good developments, as well. That being said, let’s take a look:
If Mariano Rivera keeps this up, he is going to have Brian Cashman calling him in November, begging him to reconsider his decision to retire. In 20 games, he is an almost-perfect 18 for 19 in saves, with a sparkling 1.40 ERA. He has a ridiculous 305 ERA+, and has 16 Ks in 19.1 IP. Rivera’s BABIP is a terrific .245, and has a 90% left on base percentage. Also, here’s a fun fact: through May 27, 2013, River had thrown 280 pitches; of those, 199 were strikes, showing how pinpoint control has been the key to his success over the years, even with advancing age. Despite having lost almost an entire season due to a torn ACL in 2012, and almost 4 mph off his fastball, Rivera keeps on showing everyone in baseball that he is in the greatest closer of all time.
Another glimmer: David Adams has been terrific filling in for Kevin Youkilis (who in turn was filling in for Alex Rodriguez). Adams has really upped the ante when filling in for Youk. He has made himself a very servicable defense player. His bat is decent, hitting .265 in May, with two homers and 5 RBI. Moreover, Adams would be a nice platoon when Youkiliss (or even ARod) return against a lefty. On the year, Adams has hit .462/.462/.615 with a 1.077 OPS against lefties. Not too shabby. Adams is definitely a solid option moving forward after Youk’s deal expires, giving the Yankees another option other than Jayson Nix or the erratic Eduardo Nunez to spell Rodriguez at third base. He is definitely a reason for optimism in looking at the future plans of the Yankees.
CC Sabathia has been slightly questionable of late. He was roughed up by the Rays last weekend in a 7IP, 7 ER performance, and his ERA is hovering dangerously close to the 4.00 mark. While that isn’t necessarily a problem for most players, the issue is that CC is the anchor of the Yankees pitching staff, and arguably the most reliable with Hiroki Kuroda creeping up on 40; the fragility of Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes; and the revolving door of the untested Vidal Nuno and David Phelps, who seems to have trouble getting through the lineup the third time. In fact, CC’s May ERA was a ghastly 4.85, going 0-2 with batters hitting above .300 (!!!!) against him. Equally concerning is that CC has given up 38 hits in 29.2 IP, well over a hit per inning. Of equal concern: CC’s velocity is still hovering around the low 90′s mark. This figure would not be a problem if he was not having issues, but this decreased velocity combined with his struggles- that is something on which to keep an eye.
Despite all the early-season MVP votes, Robinson Cano is going to be very, very happy that the calendar is about to turn. While he has picked it up over the course of the last week (hitting .318 over that span), May was a tough month: .255/.315/.416, .776 OPS. However, Cano did crank 6 homers and 18 RBI, even if only 9 hits (including the homers) were for extra bases (3 doubles). Cano is the cog of the offense for the Yankees generally, and is ever more important with the constant injuries and missing players. He will still need to get back to the Robinson Cano that we are used to seeing in order for the team to have any hope- let’s face it, it’s Robbie Cano, great pitching and a bunch of question marks. That said, Robbie is also prone to slumps, and he exits them as quickly as they happen. He already looks to be snapping out of it, but again, May was a toughie for the second baseman.
There are two big numbers that are standing out now for the Yankees that have to do with offense. While they were able to more than tread water over the first two months of the season, this series against the Mets has made it glaringly apparent that perhaps the team has run out of magic with some of the replacements, and could use an infusion of their star talent. The Yanks rank 18th overall in batting average (a dismal .249) and 21st in OBP (.310). Effectively, the Yankees are not hitting well enough to score runs; similarly, they aren’t Money-balling it to get on base, either. This could be at the root of some of the offensive issues that have begun to creep up of late. While it has not hurt the Yankees yet, the longer that this draws out, the longer that they could be playing with fire. It would behoove the team to get their star players back, ASAP- and hope they can contribute… particularly in light of this 4-game sweep by the Mets, who run out one of the worst lineups in all of baseball on a nightly basis.
For those of us here at YGY, that was The Good, The Bad and The Ugly for May, 2013. What say you, Yankees fans? What are your nominees?