April 17 – An Early Yankee Report Card for 2011

Hall of Famer, Cap Anson is the most famous baseball player to be born on April 17th. For all those professional wrestling fans out there, today is also the birthday of the legendary Rowdy Roddy Piper, but no current or former member of the New York Yankee family celebrates a birthday on this date. So instead, I’ll take this opportunity to share my opinions of the Yankees’ performance thus far this season.

After yesterday’s 5-2 win over a very good Rangers team, the Yankees’ record is 8-5 (compared to 10-3 at this same point last season) and they find themselves a game-and-a-half ahead of the Blue Jays in the AL East race. They’ve lost just one series thus far this season (to Boston), and as a team they are hitting .257, good for sixth place in the AL. Their pitchers have given up 4.54 runs per game, which lands them in tenth place in their league. Power and Mariano Rivera have been their strengths thus far and a failure of their leadoff hitters to get on base and Phil Hughes have hurt them the most.
Their best offensive player has been A-Rod followed closely by Cano. Russell Martin’s overall performance has been a huge boost for this team. Teixeira, Posada, Granderson, and Swisher are all swinging the bat well. The Captain is struggling but he is going to be OK. I don’t know if I can say the same thing about Brett Gardner, who has been awful. I like the bench this year. Both Jones and Chavez look like solid additions so far.
CC has pitched well but the pen has let him down. AJ is 3-0 but I still get nervous every time he takes the mound. Nova is not quite ready. I wish the team’s success was not so dependent on the aging arms of Garcia and Colon but at this point in the season, both have done well. If I were Cashman, I’d sell the farm for King Felix but I’m not Cashman. I do wish the Yankees would hire the Texas Ranger pitching scouts and development gurus. After watching both Joba and Phil Hughes for a few years now, it seems clear to me that New York could use lots of help finding and developing young arms.
As mentioned earlier, Rivera has been masterful. David Robertson has been real good too.
I don’t enjoy watching Soriano pitch because on the mound, he acts like he doesn’t enjoy pitching. Chamberlain has mostly pitched fine, but just as I do when AJ takes the mound, I get nervous when I see Joba enter a game.
You know Boston is going to get hot but I don’t see any other AL East team really challenging the Yankees, especially if they can make a deal for a top starter before or at the All Star break. If Rivera and A-Rod can stay healthy, this team should make the postseason. Winning there will require excellent starting pitching. If by that time the Yankees are still depending only on, Burnett, Garcia and Colon to provide it, I’ll be greatly surprised.

What was good about yesterday’s victory over the Rangers:
Freddy was ready! – Cano is playing really well right now – Teixeira is proving he can hit with power to the opposite field – Swisher had a great game – Joba did the job – Rivera is the best there ever will be! 

What was not so good:
The weather – Soriano did not pitch well – News that A-Rod had some lower back pain.

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