First month is done and
Yankees are pretty good
They can be better…
Okay, so the haiku is pretty awful but that’s because it has been a while since I’ve written one. Honestly, I think the last time I wrote a haiku was when I learned about them in elementary school way back in the 1980s.
Anyway, it’s April 30 and the first month of the season is almost over. So far, the Yankees have been ordinary. They’ve had some highs – an epic nine run comeback against the Red Sox and they’ve had some lows – losing Michael Pineda for the year and Freddy Garcia’s pitching woes just name a couple.
So far, the offense has been serviceable with some players having slow starts – both expected and unexpected. As Yankee fans know, Mark Teixeira is a notoriously slow starter and this April is no exception. His April slash line (not counting tonight’s game) is .229/.278/.386/.663. He has three home runs, 12 RBI with 10 strikeouts and five walks. He needs to pick things up or the “Was Mark Teixeira’s monster contract a big mistake?” talk will all over the place again.
Another Yankee infielder who has started slow in 2012 is Robinson Cano. His April slash line, while not as bad as Teixeira’s, is nothing to write home about either: .264/.323/.391/.724. He has only one home run and four RBI so far. That’s not a typo. Robinson Cano, while batting in both the third and fourth slots in the lineup – depending on the handedness of the opposition’s starter, only has only four runs batted in in 21 games. And while I realize RBI isn’t the be all/end all of statistics, four is a low total for a month of games. Obviously, Cano will need to pick things up and I think that he will. He made some good contact toward the end of yesterday’s game against the Tigers. One positive for Cano is that as of right now, he still has one less walk than he has strikeouts and he’s the only one in the Yankees lineup with that anomaly.
The Yankees offense as a whole is batting .276/.354/.479/.833 with 36 home runs, 114 RBI, 86 walks and 132 strikeouts.
The starting rotation has been the Yankees’s achilles heel in 2012 so to speak. Batters have been abusing the starters to the tune of .304/.354/.540/.894. And up until CC Sabathia’s start yesterday, the starting rotation’s first inning ERA was nine.
This season has seen the offense having to start many games or bat in the second inning on the road, with an immediate multi run deficit. The pitcher most guilty of this – at least in his last two starts – has been Freddy Garcia. He has one no decision thanks to the combination of the Yankees’ tenacious offense and the Boston Red Sox lackluster bullpen. And he suffered a loss this past Saturday when he failed to make it out of the top half of the second inning and left the offense with a 6-1 deficit to try and fight back from. (They nearly did by cutting the lead to 7-5 in the bottom of the ninth and bringing the tying run to the plate). Because of this, Garcia was moved to the bullpen.
Another pitcher with issues is the not so young anymore Phil Hughes. Hughes’s big issues are his high pitch count and his inability to throw a put away pitch. Much like Garcia, Hughes will get a batter to 0-2 or 1-2 and either walk them or worse, give up a home run. For Hughes this season another problem has been his location. Last year, he wasn’t throwing the ball hard, this season he’s been hitting 92-93 with some regularity and occasionally dialing it up to 94 but his pitches are lacking movement and the pitches that are left up are being launched into the stands. He seems to running out of chances to make a major contribution to the Yankees organization. He’s 1-3 with a 7.88 ERA. In 2010, his 18-8 season his ERA+ was 103, right now he’s sitting at 57. Yikes.
Derek Jeter is batting .396/.440/.593/1.033 and leads the team with 36 hits – four home runs and six doubles. On the flip side, Russell Martin is batting .176/.354/.314/.668 and only has nine hits so far – two home runs and one double.
Freddy Garcia has pitched 13.2 innings, has given up 25 hits, 19 earned runs, has walked five batters and struck out 11. His WHIP is 2.20. On the flip side, David Robertson has pitched 10 innings of no hit, no run ball so far this season. He’s only given up seven hits, three walks and has struck out fifteen batters. His WHIP is 1.00.
Looking Ahead To May:
The Yankees play both the Orioles – who they swept earlier this season – and the Royals twice in May. They will also be welcoming the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners to Yankee Stadium from May 8-13. The Yankees will try to avenge their sweep at the hands of the Rays which opened the 2012 season. And after a trip to Baltimore and Toronto, they come back home for a three game series against the Cincinnati Reds followed by a three game set with the Royals. They finish the month with a West Coast road trip that sees them going to Oakland and Anaheim.
They’re playing 28 games and I’m wishing, hoping, thinking and praying that 17-11 isn’t out of the question.
We will revisit this prediction on the off day May 31 and we’ll see how the Yankees fared in month two of the 2012 season.