Take me out to the Ball Game

So another Baseball update…… which of the New York Yankees are doing well, badly or surprising you, Darren?

Pluses

Mariano Rivera.  We expect Mo to be good but this year so far he’s shaking off his advancing years. 9 games, 10 innings pitched, 4 hits, NO RUNS. 7 saves out of 7 opportunities.

Joba Chamberlain. It should be noted that Mariano Rivera started life as a starter and was so-so before being transformed into first setup man and then closer. Whatever Hank Steinbrenner thinks, Chamberlain is a fine setup man at the moment and there seems no reason to rock the boat. 9 games also, 10.1 innings and a 1.74 ERA. He’s endured one wobble and was back to normal yesterday afternoon.

Brian Bruney. Our third excellent relief pitcher. 1.59 ERA, 9 games, 11.1 innings. Also endured a wobble but there was worse to follow which makes Mr Bruney both a plus and a minus….. (see below)………

Chien-Ming Wang. 5-0, 3.23 ERA, 39 innings. We need to see more strong starters but at the moment Wang is Mr Dependable. He out-duelled Sabathia to give us an opportunity to tie the series against the Indians.

Melky Cabrera. .291 BA, .506 SLG, 5 HRs. While two many bats are quiet, Melky is carrying his share of the weight. Yesterday, his home run was the only thing separating us from Cleveland in the batting column.

Alberto Gonzalez. .316 BA. I expected to see Gonzalez back in the Bronx in September as New York hoped that someone might want to offer him a roster spot in 2009 and to see what he was worth. Instead, the early injury to Jeter put him into the spotlight much earlier than that and at the moment he looks a good utility man who can fill most of the spots in the infield with ease. He’s younger than Betemit and whilst its difficult to see how he would fit for New York in the long term, he is surpassing my expectations and I hope he stays around.

Minuses

Ian Kennedy. 8.53 ERA, 2 losses and less than 5 innings per start. Less was expected of Kennedy than Phil Hughes (see below) which is handy because he is worse. Last year, he looked to have potential but at the moment that has dissipated. Can’t see how much longer he will last in the starting rotation on this form but who will they bring in to fill his spot whilst he sorts himself out.

Phil Hughes. 7.85 ERA, 3 losses and less than 4 innings per start. The burden of being the guy that the Yankees refused to give up must be weighing heavily on Hughes at the moment. He inspires slightly more confidence than Kennedy but not much.

LaTroy Hawkins. 8.56 ERA. His ERA exists to stop Hughes or Kennedy being bottom of that list. In Spring Training, he chose no.22 and drew ribbing for trying to follow Clemens. The Bleacher creatures got on him when that proved too much for him and he swapped to 21 which they have reserved to be retired in honour of Paul O’Neill. Shirt number issues aside, or perhaps partially because of them, he seems to have lost his way and seems to be handy for nothing than filling innings in games we have already lost.

Robinson Cano. .158 BA. .216 OBP. Don’t really want to put him here on this part of my list but at the moment he has got me scratching my head. Girardi has observed that he always a slow starter but the problem with that is he had such a strong spring training. Perhaps a few days off might fix it and at least we have Gonzalez to fill in if it comes to that.

Jason Giambi. .177 BA. He’s beginning to hit for power (5 HRs now) but he’ll need to boost his batting average by at least 50 points and be much more consistent at first base before I’ll be pleased to see him still in a Yankees shirt.

Brian Bruney (as above). Every other year, he has begun solidly and then struggled as the season went on. This year, he starts solidly and then falls covering a ball at firstbase and damages his foot. He might be gone for the season and I’m not sure who replaces him.

Surprises

Jorge Posada. .302 BA. Looked like he’d shaken off the injury but is now headed for the disabled list for the first time.

Jose Molina. .267 BA. Managed to stay off the disabled list and will now be every day until Posada is able to comeback.

Billy Traber. 4.50 ERA. Only left-handed reliever on the roster and was holding his own but now he’s headed for Scranton. Strange decision.

Shelley Duncan. .091 BA, no home runs. I was surprised how short his first stay in the Bronx was but I’m even more surprised to see him back. Ensberg continues to hold his own at 1b and 3b and offensively and Duncan’s power seems to have disappeared.
He’s been gifted another chance but he needs to do something quickly.

Chad Moeller. .350 BA. Designated for assignment on Friday. It looks like, with the injury to Posada, the Yankees may have moved too quickly. We’ll see how the next few days workout – whether we see him again or whether he is headed elsewhere.

Mike Mussina. 2-3, 4.54 ERA. Despite Steinbrenner’s diatribe, close inspection shows that Mussina is contributing and perhaps doing a little better than I expected. I really saw him as the fifth starter this season so if he can continue as he is, he’d been on target for 12 wins and I could stand that. The younger pitchers are the bigger issue.

So the season so far. 26 games, 13 wins, 13 losses and only 1 1/2 games out. 

Team W L PCT GB
Baltimore 14 11 .560
Tampa Bay 14 11 .560
Boston 15 12 .556
NY Yankees 13 13 .500 1.5
Toronto 11 15 .423 3.5

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