State of the Yanks
Following the Yankees’ sweep of the Texas Rangers this weekend, the team is 9-3 (their best start since 2003) and in second place in the AL East, one-half game behind the Tampa Bay Rays, who swept the lowly Red Sox in a four-game set this weekend. Boston sure can pick ’em.
A reason for this early-season surge is that the starting pitching has been phenomenal. The 37-year-old Pettitte had another terrific start on Sunday (despite a shaky first few innings), going eight frames and giving up two runs on four hits with four strikeouts to two walks. The veteran lefty also retired 17 of the final 19 hitters he faced en route to a 2-0 mark with a 1.35 ERA in three starts this season. Not only has Pettitte been good, but the staff as a whole has been shutting the opposition down. The team has given up just 44 runs on the season so far, the fewest in the AL.
Take it away Swish Dog:
"I think the sky’s the limit for them (rotation), there’s no doubt. They go out there and they give it everything they’ve got everytime they take the hill. It’s a lot of fun playing defense behind them; they keep you in the game, they throw strikes and work quick. It’s been a great start to the season for us, we still got a lot more to prove. We’re still hungry and we want to keep it going."
In addition to the defense, the offense has been hot as well. The Bombers have the best run differential in the AL (through Sunday), at +25, and have been steam-rolling the competition day-in-day-out. The Yanks tire pitchers out with their patient ability to work pitch counts and don’t swing at garbage. Jeter and Posada, not to mention Cano, have been off to incredible starts while others are holding their own. Even the backups have been getting in on the action.
Another reason for the hot start is speed (not looking at you, Nick Johnson). As the team got younger this past offseason, they also got quicker. Brett Gardner is tied for the league lead with seven stolen bases and Grandy is tied for the league lead with a pair of triples.
Even the skipper is pleased with how things have gone:
"I like the way we’re playing. I think fundamentally we’ve been sound. I think our rotation has been outstanding, I think our bullpen has been good. Offensively we’re scoring runs and it’s not all by the home run, we’re doing things a lot of different ways. Defensively I think we’ve played well. Usually when you put all those things together you get off to a good start."
And now the Yanks head West for three games with the A’s, three with the Halos and then back East for three in Baltimore before returning home to host the ChiSox.