As of Monday morning, the Yankees are 20-12 and three games up in the AL East. After a slow start through the first three series in which they started 3-6, the Yankees have produced 17 wins in their last 23 games. ARod was hot, Tex has hit home run after home run, the bullpen has been lights out and the starting pitching has been getting the job done. So what’s the issue then? No ‘issue’ necessarily, just an observation. Check out Sunday's lineup:
Headley: .224Drew: .189
I checked the box score on my way home from practice and realized, “Holy crap, that lineup sure does not look like a first place lineup!!” But it is. And the Yankees Universe and us here at the BYB family are thrilled. Red Sox fans, not so much…. Even better!
There are several factors why this is ‘ok’. While this trend might not be feasible over a long summer, it’s working alright right now.
The top of the order is getting on base. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner have OBP’s of .415 and .393 respectively. They also lead the team in runs scored with 25 and 22. The Yankees have stolen 23 bases on the year and guess who has been doing it? You guessed it, Ellsbury (11) and Gardner (10). That will lead to production in our next topic…
They are scoring runs. The Yankees are seventh in all of baseball with 149 runs scored. Not bad for a team that was nowhere near the top last year. In order to score runs, they have to produce hits and especially RBI. While Tex is hovering around the Mendoza line, he is tied for second in the AL with 10 home runs and tied for third with 25 RBI plus has a reasonably respectable .336 OBP. Although the average stinks, I’ll take the power numbers all day. They have eight guys with double digit RBI and seven of the right have hit multiple home runs. That’ll help. ARod produced for a couple weeks and has cooled off some but many guys are getting big hits. Stephen Drew has a couple big home runs as do Chase Headley and Brian McCann, and then there is this guy…
Chris Young has been great in his role. As far as fourth outfielders go, there hasn’t been anyone better than Chris Young. Over 65 at-bats Young is hitting .306 with six home runs, seven doubles and 12 RBI. Joe Girardi is finding ways to get him in the lineup and that is allowing ARod, Gardner, Ellsbury and Beltran days to rest their not-so-young bodies. While his stats don’t scream MVP, he may be the Yankees MVP right now. I wrote a piece on Young (Chris Young: The Difference Maker) after he started a rally to propel the Yankees to their first win of the season and so far he has been a difference maker. He’s been terrific.
Their pitching has been fantastic overall. There’s not much bad to say about the bullpen… Like not even a little. But their starting pitching has allowed them to stay in games and obviously that’s important! The team has a 3.30 ERA, good for second best in the AL, and a BAA of .240, good for seventh in the AL. CC Sabathia has the worst ERA on the team with a 5.45, which isn’t great but sure isn’t atrocious. He has only given up more than four runs once over five outings.
Adam Warren has a 4.65 ERA but hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs in a start, pretty good for a fifth starter. Nathan Eovaldi has a 3.97 ERA and can be frustrating, but as their number four, he’s been good enough to keep the team in the game. Michael Pineda is developing as their ace and is sporting a 2.72 ERA following his incredible 16 strikeout performance on Sunday. Although he is hurt again and there is concern, Masahiro Tanaka had three solid starts in a row and in his absence Chase Whitley has pitched well over three starts, allowing six runs over 17.2 innings.
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