Why The Yankees Are In First Place
The demise of the Yankees was written at least a dozen times from February 1 until now. The injuries, oh the injuries. But baseball people must not have been baseball people through and through because they forgot that CC Sabathia and Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera were still around and the bullpen was in tact. And the division actually wasn't that good if you know how baseball teams win in 2013. Here are the Top 5 reasons why the Yanks were in first place as of May 13, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. EST.
- Robinson Cano. The guy is hitting at an MVP level for average and for power. Can he carry the Yanks when the others get back if they don't hit in the clutch, which is absolutely possible? Can he carry the Yanks in October? His new contract depends on both.
- Pitching staff. Sabathia has done enough and Hiroki Kuroda has been incredible. Andy Pettitte has provided quality starts as well. Even Phil Hughes is coming around a little bit and ran off four straight solid outings with a win mixed in through late April and May. Vidal Nuno and David Phelps have spot started for Ivan Nova and been respectable.
- Cast-offs and nomads. Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Travis Hafner, Chris Stewart, Austin Romine and Jayson Nix. Who? Brian Cashman's band-aids healed the wound early and kept the skin looking smooth.
- Mariano Rivera. What is this, 1998? Rivera, 43, looks as good as ever and ran off 15 saves in 15 tries. He still has it and remains the ultimate x-factor in the game.
- Joe Girardi. It isn't easy being Yanks manager. You are expected to do great and when you do, people tear you down because of the high payroll. But Girardi was given a bunch of players and had to figure out what to do with them. He has done a masterful job of handling the lineups and resting people when necessary as well as putting people in the right places in the field. Girardi might be on his way to managing for a very long time in the Bronx. He handles players well, knows New York and can handle everything that goes with the fishbowl.
By: Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike," 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio. Follow him on Twitter @MikeLSports.