The Yankees are in perfect harmony this season
By Benjamin Orr
From what the past month has shown us, everything is clicking with the New York Yankees despite losing the series to the Atlanta Braves and one game to the New York Mets in this current series. Really, aside from Wednesday’s loss, two of the Yankees’ three losses in the past four days were decided by two runs or less. Losing by two runs or less is something that has happened 11 times in their 28 losses this season. Regardless, the season has been great thus far. Derek Jeter’s start this season not only proved his critics wrong, but helped ignite an offense that was so reliant upon the long ball. Yes, Jeter hit his fair share of home runs early on, but he has had many clutch hits lately. Robinson Cano as always is having a great season and Curtis Granderson is no slouch either as he is leading the team in home runs. Pitching wise, efforts from Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes (aside from his slip-up on Wednesday, but hey nobody is perfect) lately have been phenomenal. Andy Pettitte hasn’t skipped a beat since 2010. Even Hiroki Kuroda has stepped his game up. CC Sabathia has struggled at times, but is finding his edge again. The bullpen has been solid all season, which only adds to how well the pitching is doing overall. So really, what’s not to like about the Yankees now? The Yankees are in perfect harmony and I have no reason to believe that this is going to fade any time soon.
The biggest turnaround for us, was the three series we swept in a row. For a team with starting pitching that has really found their way back, those games were huge confidence boosters. Hughes pitched a complete game. Nova has begun to lower his ERA. Sabathia started off rough, but is turning it around. Pettitte is pitching like he was at 30 (though his outing against the Mets was a little rough) and Kuroda is proving not to be the next A.J. Burnett.
Consistency is what our rotation needs and lately, that’s been the case. Our starters have been pretty darn good lately as you can probably tell. For example, Kuroda’s outing against the Atlanta Braves on Monday wasn’t exactly stellar, but he kept us in the game even though we lost by one (final score was 4-3). The bullpen, as I had mentioned in my previous article, has been lights out this season. Efforts from everyone have contributed to the 41 wins that the Yankees have.
Offensively, the Yankees have been seeing huge production from Jeter. After last year, everyone thought Jeter was washed up and he couldn’t play as well as he used to. Boy, he did make his critics eat their words. Jeter is currently batting .311 on the year, which is an average that has not sunk below .300 since April 8th. The Captain is helping his team in tremendous ways as he has a lot of clutch hits.
To complement Jeter’s offense, Granderson has been swinging a great bat all season. Granderson leads the Yankees in home runs with 21 and is actually fourth overall in the AL in the category. Granderson also is second on the team in runs scored with 47.
Cano, who is practically always in the running for the AL MVP, is showing New York love once again. Cano, who not only has a spectacular bat (as he leads the Yankees in runs scored at 48 and OPS at .916), also has a golden glove at second base. On the year, Cano has only committed three errors out of 306 total chances. That is an astounding stat that Cano typically holds on to for the rest of the year.
Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, while normally noted for their slow starts, have started to warm up as of late, Teixeria in particular. In his past 10 games, Tex is batting .297 with one home run, five RBIs and six runs scored. A-Rod in his past 10 games hasn’t done as well as Tex, only batting .216, but has contributed to the run support with two home runs and eight RBIs. Nick Swisher has also flown a bit under the radar in the MLB, but he does lead the Yankees in RBIs with 42. Swisher did suffer an injury a week ago, but his production has not halted.
The one Yankee we all want to see do better is Russell Martin. Martin has had little success at the plate, batting just .200 with eight home runs and 21 RBIs. Martin’s performance is not the only issue the Yankees have had at the plate this season. The question of who plays left field, whether it be Andruw Jones or Raul Ibanez (even DeWayne Wise gets some attention), has put somewhat of a strain on the offense, though you’d hardly notice it. Ibanez should be the everyday left fielder as he is batting much better (granted his average is .235) than Jones. I understand Joe Girardi’s putting in Jones for left-handed pitching, but the only productive work Jones can do anymore is with his glove. Whoever plays left field as of now, whether it’s Ibanez or Jones (sometimes Wise) seems to struggle quite a bit at the plate.
So while the Yankees do have their apparent struggles, overall it isn’t hampering the team and that’s what matters. The pitching looks great, the offense is rolling and everything just feels good, especially heading towards the All-Star break in a few weeks. The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays show no signs of backing down, so the Yankees must remain in harmony to retain their position in first. The way our guys have played this year, you really can’t ask for much more as their production has been solid and consistent.