The Yankees are enjoying their best run of the season. They’ve simultaneously put themselves in the reckoning for the division title and the wild card. So who has made the difference?
Johnny Damon. I’m still reeling from the day that Damon went six-for-six. He was the first Yankee to do this since 1934. He’s batting .331 on the season and .434 on the month. Last year, he seemed to be fading. This year he has bounced right back.
Alex Rodriguez. 14 home runs on the season. Batting .431 on the month. Slugging .629 on the season, .831 on the month. He’s on a real tear.
Jorge Posada. He’s back. He’s more than holding his own. He’s lifted the weight off Molina. He’s being patient at the plate. ‘Nuff said.
Mariano Rivera. Early in June, he encountered his first wobbles of the season. Two home runs in consecutive games. He’s overcome that problem. His ERA on the month is now back down to 2.00. He’s just picked up his twentieth save of the season.
Jose Veras. Prone to injuries and inconsistent since he joined the Yankees, I’d placed him down amongst the also-rans and was looking forward to the day when the Yankees could consider letting him go. 2 wins and a 1.93 ERA on the month so far has turned all that around.
Mike Mussina. Despite yesterday’s defeat against the Reds, you have to acknowledge that the aging Moose has exceeded all expectations. Like Damon, there were real doubts about him coming into the season. That he has 10 wins prior to All Star day is simply outstanding.
Melky Cabrera. He’s still inconsistent at the plate. .215 on the month. His fielding makes him a regular but he’s number 4 of the regular outfielders at the moment.
Bobby Abreu. He’s had a pretty good year but the last two weeks have been his worst – just when the team are at their best.
Alberto Gonzalez. He was called up to replace Shelley Duncan who was not getting any playing time and must be fast running out of chances. Shame is the same can be said for Gonzalez. 5 at-bats since his call up and he’s just swinging at air.
Edwar Ramirez. He has gone from a plus to a minus very quickly. In 6 games in June, he has produced a 9.00 ERA. Fortunately, the rest of the bullpen is more than holding its own but he needs to turn it around.
Jason Giambi. He has consistently hit for power since he pulled himself out of his early season funk but now he’s boosting his average too. .314 average in June so far.
Chad Moeller. The big surprise is that he is giving Cashman a reason to keep him in the Bronx and to carry three catchers. He’s proving a good pinch-hitter and it seems that until we’re 100% sure that Posada is going to have no more problems, then we’re not going to risk losing him entirely.
Wilson Betemit. He’s bounced back from injury and he’s holding his own. At the start of the year, given the choice between Duncan, Gonzalez and Betemit for the utility infielder, I would have placed Betemit third. Now, he is showing he is the most useful by some distance.
LaTroy Hawkins. He is doing well in June but the surprise is that the Yankees aren’t trusting him with the ball. So early in his time at the Yankees, this doesn’t bode well for a long term future in the Bronx.
Chris Britton. Like Bruney, he achieved more than expected and then got injured. His 1.29 ERA (0.00 in June) would hopefully have led to a regular spot but he’ll have to prove himself all over again, now.
Dan Giese. Where did this guy come from? Patterson was called up for one day and then replaced by Giese. It seemed like Giese wasn’t going to stay but he had just been called up to allow Patterson time to rest without relying on the relatively small number of pitchers we’re carrying. However Giese did better than Patterson had and just kept over-performing. Tonight, he has a start because of the injury to Chien-Ming Wang. I’m surprised.
Joba Chamberlain. Well, he still not making wins but he’s adapting quicker than I’d anticipated and he’s not losing. It’s enough for now.
Darrell Rasner. Seems to have lost his consistency. Hasn’t had the run support that Mussina has had but his head is beginning to drop a little and we need to take care of this guy if the rotation is going to hold together.
Billy Traber. I thought we’d seen the last of Traber but because of the injury situation, he’s got another chance. We need him to take that chance.