Well, hello there everybody. Welcome to This Week In Yankees Baseball. The Yankees passed the midway point of the season this week, and there was some big news off of the field. More on that in a moment.
A frustrating series with Tampa dropped the Bombers below the .500 mark. The Yankees have never been below that mark this late in the season under manager Joe Girardi. Solid efforts by David Phelps and Hiroki Kuroda were in vain, as Tampa Bay won consecutive one-run games on Monday and Tuesday.
Brian Roberts and Jacoby Ellsbury had two hits each on Monday, but it was not enough as the Rays won 4-3. Derek Jeter matched Lou Gehrig for the all-time career Yankees lead in doubles with 534 on Tuesday, in yet another milestone for The Captain. But Tampa´s David Price limited the Yankees to one run in the 2-1 loss.On Wednesday Brett Gardner went three for five and Brian McCann hit a home run, but Tampa won again 6-3.
But Thursday the Yankees turned that around, as Masahiro Tanaka earned his 12th win of the season. The Bombers belted former Yankee Phil Hughes for seven runs in the 7-4 victory over the Twins. And Thursday also brought two big events. News broke that Yangervis Solarte, the early-season phenom, was being sent to Scranton Wilkes-Barre to work on his batting stroke. His average had plummeted into the .260 range.
That resulted in an opportunity for Zelous Wheeler to come to the Bronx. Wheeler, who can play all over the infield, took advantage right away. He jumped on a pitch that was right in his ¨Wheeler House¨ for a home run, and also added a single, helping Tanaka to the win.
The other big story to hit Yankeeland was the news that CC Sabathia was being shut down due to inflammation in his right knee. Sadly, CC may miss the rest of the season. That has General Manager Brian Cashman on the phone looking for pitching help. It sure would be nice if the (David) Price is right!
The Yankees followed up Thursday´s win with another on Friday. Brian Roberts had four extra base hits to lead the Yankees to the 6-5 victory over the Twins. The bullpen came up big too. David Huff threw three scoreless innings and David Robertson notched his 20th save. This helped the Yankees celebrate the anniversary of Lou Gehrig´s unforgettable speech. So, through Friday, the Boys from The Bronx sat three games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles.
While the ship has been shaking, there are a number of silver linings. The addition of David Huff has given Joe Girardi plenty of depth in the pen. This should help him keep Dellin Betances and Robertson fresh as the summer wears on. And Robertson is finally showing consistency.
Also, Brian Roberts has started to produce at the plate. His defense has always been there, but if he contributes on offense, that will be a bonus for the Yanks down the stretch. And despite Tanaka picking up a couple of loses, the league still hasn´t caught up with him. It was a lack of run support that did him in.
So if Cashman can get a couple of arms and another bat, three games can be made up easily. Look for Solarte to return with a big contribution before all is said and done. And when Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and McCann finally break out…look out AL East.
How about that!