It’s June 15, 2011 and the Yankees have fallen 1.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox. The national news is that Derek Jeter’s Quest for 3,000 has been derailed, as he pulled his calf while running to 1st base- something he probably never imagined would happen to him. This is his first DL stint since 2003′s infamous dislocated shoulder.
As much as Derek Jeter is an icon in New York, the Yankees should be missing Bartolo Colon even more. Colon strained his hamstring. His naysayers knew he would be unable to last all year off the disabled list, but they could not have predicted a hamstring injury while running to first. Colon has been vintage.
Russell Martin is trying his best to avoid the disabled list with some rest, but it’s been looking bad for him. His batting average continues to sink (.238) and he’s been grounding into double plays. Francisco Cervelli- God bless him- has been stinking up the joint in the field and at the plate. Jorge Posada has made a complete about face and is hitting fantastic. He’s been so good that Joe Girardi asked him to be ready to be an emergency catcher when Martin started to have back pain. This is what Jorge wanted.
With Jeter gone for 15 days, this is Eduardo Nunez‘s time to shine and prove to the world that he can equal or eclipse Derek Jeter’s anemic line of .260/.324/ 2HR. He already started out in good fashion against the Texas Rangers in his first game. Ramiro Pena was recalled to back him up.
A-Rod and Robinson Cano have been heating up, which is awesome considering that Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are imitating Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle 50 years later.
Brett Gardner has been finding ways on base (.282/.362), but he’s still been 100% clueless on the basepaths this year when it comes to getting a good jump and stealing bases. His defense is fine and he will get a chance to lead off with Derek gone. Joe Girardi usually benches him against lefties and inserts Andruw Jones, which is absurd. Gardner is also clueless when he tries to bunt for hits- he recently bunted for a hit on 3-2 count and struck out on Ball 4.
Nick Swisher‘s 2011 splits are as follows: he can’t hit righties, but destroys lefties, he can’t hit on the road or at home this year but he walks like crazy on the road. He’s been better lately but he’s still frustrating to watch or own for a fantasy baseball team. His .289/.417/ 3 hr in June proves he’s on the right track.
Bartolo Colon has the lowest ERA and best strikeout rate of any Yankees starter. It was not a fluke. Thanks to the stem cell surgery which took cells from his stomach and rebuilt his arm, he not only has been able to pitch to the 8th inning but he has topped 97 MPH this year. He has been blowing his fastballs by hitters and only goes to the breaking balls when needed.
CC Sabathia is now 8-4, 3.28, which means he is the same man the Yankees have come to call ace.
Freddy Garcia continues to impress me with his sick numbers with runners in scoring position. I wish he could teach how to be clutch and bear down with runners on base to other pitchers. He doesn’t get run support so his win loss record (5-5) doesn’t stand out or get media attention.
AJ Burnett is still prone to the Inning From Hell ™ (walk, walk, wild pitch, hit batter, double, wild pitch, HR, walk), but he has demonstrated the ability to bounce back after such a start and lose a 1-0 game. There’s a reason why AJ’s ERA is only 4.05 as opposed to 6.05 this year- he tries harder and focuses, but the Inning From Hell ™ will never go away.
You can flip a coin with Ivan Nova. Do I sound like a broken record? Some games he sucks and other games he is unhittable, it all depends on his command of the curveball. Nova’s back to the bullpen if Phil Hughes comes back in July. Hughes has looked good at rehab assignments so far (hitting 93 MPH on the radar gun).
Hector Noesi (1.76 ERA) has earned the shot to take Bartolo Colon’s place in the rotation for 2 weeks. He’s been put in LONG, LONG relief and has done super.
Joba Chamberlain‘s DL assignment is a shame since he was doing very well as of late. He is scheduled for Tommy John surgery, which means it may be a year before we see him again. His career is at rock bottom now- there’s no telling how he will pitch when he gets back. One reason why Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes were available to the Yankees in the drafts was that many scouts said that they were injury prone back then. So as Tony Vahl tweeted, it didn’t matter that Brian Cashman had limited their innings and pitch counts.
Boone Logan has improved in June, which helps the Yankees bullpen. The problem is that lefties have been killing him this year, but he’s been getting righties out, which defies his job description. I remember when Joe Torre cut Mike Myers for doing that.
David Robertson continues to earn his nickname of Houdini. He’s the only bullpen guy the Yanks can just call in with the bases loaded with no outs and hope for 3 K. Of course, he still may throw a wild pitch or walk.
Mariano Rivera has 16 saves (his opportunities have been dwindling) with an ERA of 1.85. He has not been overworked and continues to do his job.
Luis Ayala has been chugging along and has moved up in Joe Girardi’s bullpen rankings. I admit that I had no idea he was THE Luis Ayala until Tony Vahl text messaged me.
Lance Pendleton‘s pixie dust has blew away: his control sucks and it’s just a matter of time before he’s sent down like Amauri Sanit was.
Kevin Whelan and Jeff Marquez look like cannon fodder, so we’ll see if they can step up.
Besides the bad news that the Yankees DL has Bartolo Colon, Derek Jeter, Joba Chamberlain, Pedro Feliciano, and what’s his name, oh yeah, Rafael Soriano, the other bad news is that the Yankees roll over when they play the Boston Red Sox (losing 6 of 7 this year). Now, yes I know that one year the Yankees virtually lost all of their games against Boston in the first half and then won the rest in the second half, but this 2011 Yankees team still looks like a Wild Card team to me.
Reason being: the offense sucks with RISP (like the Florida Marlins) and the bullpen has a lot of dudes with no track records. Granted, after dropping a close game where the Yankees squander opportunity after opportunity, they can break out and score 8 runs the next day, but championship teams are not inconsistent like that. This goes back to the Yankees choking against the Texas Rangers in the playoffs. AJ Burnett’s pie throwing has decreased since the Yankees parted ways with such clutch players as Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, and Marcus Thames. None of these players are having great years in 2011, but they were clutch with the Yanks and ate PIE.
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