Yankees Early Season Rewind
The Yankees closed out April and the first day of May in style as they defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 and win the weekend series 2-1 in games.Yankees have had to deal with some early challenges. Some were easy to predict. But there were a couple of surprises and one BIG shocker that sent a ripple through the Bronx Bombers.
So how did the Yankees get to their current 16-9 mark?
Going into the start of the season. The Yankees knew they could score runs and knew they had a great bullpen, but just didn't know how the starters would be able to get the ball to that bullpen. Yankees had a lot of questions and concerns about their starting rotation going into opening day.
In the first 12 games, the Yankees starting rotation posted a 5.90 ERA (61.0 IP 40ER) with a 4-3 record while the team had an overall record of 7-5 (3). Most of that was due to one of the big surprises by the Yankees in April, Phil Hughes. Going into Hughes' first start, there was a concern for a lack of velocity as his fastball had not reached his top speed at spring training. The Yankees hoped this would come back during the season and it did not. Hughes made three starts, going 0-1 and posting a 13.94 ERA giving up 16 ER and 4 HRs. Hughes was then placed on the disabled list with a "dead arm", which has recently changed to "right shoulder inflammation" according to the Yankees game notes via. mlb.com.
Since being placed on the DL, Bartolo Colon has taken over and thus far as a starter has posted a 2-0 record with a 1.84 ERA. He has, believe it or not, solidified that rotation spot here in the short-term while Hughes is on the DL.
The other "wild card" pitcher in Freddy Garcia has also been quite the pleasant surprise for the Yankees as he has gone 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA. A.J. Burnett has also been pitching great with a 4-1 record and a 3.93 ERA record!
The only other downside in the pitching department has been Rafael Soriano, who is 1-1 with a 6.57 ERA, a couple of blown saves, and 9 BB and 8 SO in total this season. His last two outings have been much better but has yet to have pitched a 1-2-3 inning since he did that back on opening day.
The other question mark the Yankees had to deal with was their catching position. Many people questioned the signing of Russell Martin given his past with injuries and other challenges he faced, especially with Jorge Posada moving to the full-time DH. Well Russell Martin has been the BIG surprise, a real positive one for the Yankees! Martin is batting .293 and ALREADY has 6 HRs and 19 RBI! In the last two seasons Martin has only had 5 and 7 HRs respectively (1). So in just over one month's work, Martin has accumulated his HR total from the past two seasons! Martin has certainly been a bright spot for the Yankees.
The other two major contributors have been Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira. Usually Teixeira gets off to a very slow start in April, but this season, he got off to quite the start! He already has 7 HRs and 16RBI. In his past two season, Teixeira has only hit 2 HRs and 3 HRs respectively, so he has already hit more home runs than the total of his past two Aprils combined! Teixeira is batting .256 with a .392 OBP. Meanwhile Granderson has 8 HRs already this season with 15 RBI (2).
So the Yankees are off to a great start! But must be cautious of their players, their starting rotation, their health, and the health of Phil Hughes. Will Brian Cashman trade for a starting pitcher? Will Colon and Garcia continue to shine? Can Russell Martin stay healthy and continue to be productive? What are your questions about the Yankees now that we're past the opening month of the season? Post your questions below and feel free to discuss your thoughts of the Yankees so far!
All statistics and information courtesy of: 1) MLB.com 2) baseball-reference.com 3) Yankees Game Notes on mlb.com