Jobu gives a quick recap of what the Yankees did while he was on vacation.
Because these games already happened, and I don’t feel like writing 8,000 words, I’ll do this recap a little differently than the others. I won’t do the usual game by game recap, but rather an overall recap of the eleven game stretch that started last Thursday against the Chicago White Sox.
The Yankees dropped the first two to Chicago before rallying to win the last two of the four game set and salvaging the split. They then dropped the first two games to Tampa (although they could have won both) before winning the last one and heading to Boston with a 3-4 record during the stretch. Thank God for the Red Sox and their terribleness. The Yankees managed to take three out of four from the Sox to bring their record during my vacation to 6-5, and head into the break with the best record in baseball at 52-31.
The Pitchers: Solid, But In Need of A Break
It was a solid rebound from the series before. The Yankees swept the Indians in that series, but suffered two huge losses to the starting rotation when they were forced to put arguably their best two starters on the DL (CC Sabathia will be back shortly after the break, but Andy Pettitte will be out for much longer). The pitching held up mostly pretty well during the stretch. The defense cost them wins in two games against Tampa and one against Boston at least. In fact, Iván Nova lost two wins during the stretch because of the defense and the bullpen. Here’s how the rotation did:
Iván Nova: 3 GS (1-1), 19.1 Ip, 19 H, 9 R (5 earned), 7 BBs, 20 K – Now 10-3, 3.92 ERA
Phil Hughes: 2 GS (1-1), 13.1 Ip, 16 H, 7 R (5 earned), 2 BBs, 11 K – Now 9-7, 4.33 ERA
Hiroki Kuroda: 2 GS (1-0), 12.2 IP, 13 H, 7 R (6 earned), 2 BBs, 14 K - Now 8-7, 3.50 ERA
Freddy García: 2 GS (1-0), 12 Ip, 11 H, 3 R, 2 BBs, 9 Ks – Now 3-2, 5.23 ERA
Adam Warren: 1 GS (0-1), 2.1 Ip, 8 H, 6 R, 2 BBs, 1 K – Now 0-1, 23.14 ERA
David Phelps: 2 G (1 GS) (0-1), 7.2 Ip, 6 H, 3 R, 4 BBs, 13 Ks – Now 1-3, 3.05 ERA
Some of those numbers may not look so great, but Iván Nova was victimized by awful defense and a blow save by the bullpen. Hughes had one excellent start and one bad one (that was also marred by awful defense). Kuroda nearly pitched a shutout in his first start and then was knocked around in his second start (which the Yankees won). Warren was making his major league debut when he got rocked, so it’s hard to really come down on him for that. David Phelps still struggles with his pitch count, but he pitched very well in his start, and in relief of Warren as well. The real savior appears to be García. Once left for dead as the last man in the Yankees bullpen (I clamored for his release if he wasn’t going to pitch), Freddy took the ball in place of Pettitte and delivered two very good starts against division rivals. If he keeps this up, the Yankees might not miss Andy at all.
The bullpen is definitely limping into the break. While they didn’t blow every game or anything, you can tell that guys like Boone Logan and Cory Wade (who was sent down in favor of Chad Qualls) badly need the All-Star break. Logan has pitched in more than half of the Yankees games and leads the league in games pitched, so I hope he gets some rest the next few days, and that Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma are able to come in and help in the second half. During the stretch:
Rafael Soriano: 5 G (0-0), 5 Ip, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BBs, 8 Ks, 3 Saves – now 2-0, 1.60 ERA, 20 Saves
David Robertson: 6 G (0-1), 5.2 Ip, 4 H, 3 R (2 earned), 4 BBs, 8 Ks – now 0-3, 2.55 ERA
Boone Logan: 6 G (2-0) 3.1 Ip, 5 H, 5 R, 3 BBs, 4 Ks, 2 Holds – now 4-0, 3.77 ERA
Cody Eppley: 6 G (0-0), 5 Ip, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BBs, 5 Ks, 1 Hold – now 0-0, 2.70 ERA
Clay Rapada: 7 G (0-0), 1.2 Ip, 1 H, 1 R (0 earned), 1 BB, 3 Ks – now 2-0, 2.55 ERA
Chad Qualls: 3 Gp (0-0) 3.1 Ip, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BBs, 1 K – now 0-0, 2.70 (with Yankees)
DJ Mitchell: 1 G (0-0), 1 Ip, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BBs, 1 K – now 0-0, 2.45 ERA
Cory Wade: 2 G (0-0), 3 Ip, 11 H, 10 R, 1 BB, 3 K – now 0-1, 6.48 and in AAA
Dewayne Wise: 1 G (0-0), 0.2 Ip, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BBs, 0 Ks – now 0-0, 0.00 ERA and back in the outfield
The Hitters: Chicks Dig the Long Ball
Over the eleven games the Yankees played while I was away, the offense continued to do what they’ve been doing, which is to hit home runs and scoring lots of runs. In those eleven games, they scored 57 runs, or a little over five per game. Usually, with their pitching staff, that’s enough to win more games than you lose, which they did during the stretch. The Yankees hit 17 home runs in the eleven games, which brought their season total to a league leading 134 bombs. Andruw Jones put on a show in the last three games against the Red Sox, hitting four balls over the Green Monster to give him eleven in a part time role for the season. Here’s how the rest of the offense fared in the eleven games:
Derek Jeter: 11 G, 49 ABs, .327/.353/.408, 7 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 BB, 7 Ks, 1 SB – now .308, 7 HR 25 RBI
Curtis Granderson: 11 G, 36 ABs, .306/.422/.556, 10 R, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 7 BBs, 12 K, – now .248, 23 HR 48 RBI
Robinson Canó: 11 G, 46 ABs, .348/.388/.565, 4 R, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 2 BBs, 10 Ks – now .313, 20 HR 51 RBI
Mark Teixeira: 10 G, 38 ABs, .263/.378/.672, 10 R, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 7 BBs, 11 Ks – now .258, 15 HR 54 RBI
Alex Rodríguez: 10 G, 38 ABs, .289/.357/.421, 5 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3 BBs, 13 Ks – now .269, 13 HR 38 RBI
Nick Swisher: 11 G, 36 ABs, .222/.370/.333, 5 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 9 BBs, 13 Ks – now .262, 13 HR 51 RBI
Raúl Ibañez: 8 G, 21 ABs, .238/.273/.381, 3 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 6 Ks – now .240, 11 HR 36 RBI
Andruw Jones: 7 G, 26 ABs, .346/.346/.885, 5 R, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 0 BBs, 4 Ks – now .244, 11 HR 22 RBI
Russell Martin: 7 G, 20 ABs, .050/.136/.100, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2 BBs, 6 Ks – now .179, 8 HR 21 RBI
Eric Chavez: 8 G, 19 ABs, .316/.364/.632, 3 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BBs, 4 Ks, – now 282, 7 HR 19 RBI
Jayson Nix: 6 G, 19 ABs, .211/.250/.474, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 4 Ks – now .221, 3 HR 7 RBI
Dewayne Wise: 9 G, 13 ABs, .462/.500/1.000, 2 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 0 Ks – now .260, 3 HR 6 RBI
Darnell McDonald: 3 G, 4 ABs, .000/.000/.000, 0 BBs, 2 Ks – now hitting .000, 0 HR 0 RBI (as a Yankee)
Dewayne Wise really picked up his game during this stretch (really starting against Cleveland), which has made the injury to Brett Gardner much more bearable. Canó and Tex really got it going against the Sox, Rays and Sox, which helped the Yankees win the six games they won (and the other three or four they could have won if it wasn’t for the defense). The rest of the offense pretty much did what they have been doing all season (for good or for bad). I think Russell Martin is really hitting his way off this team. How long is he going to be allowed to hit under .200? I would say until oh… about July 31st (trade deadline). It was nice to see Darnell McDonald sacrifice years of dreadlock growth for what will undoubtedly be about a week worth of games on the Yankees roster. Apparently, he cried as he cut them. Have fun growing them back.
As I mentioned, my main concern about the hitters during this stretch wasn’t related to their bats, it was related to their gloves. The Yankees made eleven errors in the eleven games, including three in a loss to the Rays and four in their only loss to the Red Sox. Maybe the team was just looking forward to the break. Maybe the full season of great defense finally evened out towards the end of the half, but I would love to see them work on that during the second half. Errors create losses, and I think the Yankees could have won eight or nine of the eleven games if they’d played better defense. It’s only a couple of games difference, but you never know how that will affect the standings.
The Yankees went through a very tough stretch of games. All eleven games were against teams .500 or better (the Sox were at .500 after the second and last games of the series, but never dipped below). To win six of those games without two of your best starters and terrible defense is great. I’m looking forward to seeing the Yankees build on the best record in baseball in the second half, and I’m curious to see just how many wins this team can end up with. If they continue to play the way they’ve played in their last seven weeks (31-12), they might get up over 100 wins. That might be tough without Andy Pettitte, but this team has enough offense to carry them to greatness while they wait for everyone to get healthy. With Sabathia, Pettitte, Chamberlain, Aardsma and Gardner all set to come back before the playoff push, the Yankees could be very dangerous.
Featured image courtesy of: Elise Amendola/AP