Wang making progress with each start…
A couple of noteworthy things about Wang’s start yesterday. First of all, without attempting to manage the team, I believe he could have lasted another inning (he was taken out in the sixth, with a man on first and one out, only 85 pitches under his belt), making it six, and thus his longest start/appearance of the year. Secondly, he gave up the least runs he has all season (in a start), limiting the incapacitated Mets offense to a two run effort. He induced the most ground balls he has all season (a signature aspect of his game when he was winning 19 a season) with 13. Finally, he simply gave up the least hits he has of any start this year, even more reassuring considering it was his lengthiest appearance.
Mo makes history…
A quick congratulations to Mariano Rivera, who, as his career dwindles, has cemented himself as the greatest closer to ever play the game. It was even sweeter last night because he dominated the batters with his trademark cutter, which just mowed down a very quiet Mets lineup.
Yankees make it five in a row…
Finally onto the important part of the post. I couldn’t be more reassured by the wins that the Yankees are now posting. I believe that they are in fact better-looking performances by the entire Bomber squad than the walk-off hysteria they perpetuated in May.
The first mark of this quality is in the pitching; Since June 24th (5 games), the Yankee pitching has let up an outstanding 10 earned runs, 30 hits, and only 3 home runs. In other words, in the past five games, they’ve posted a collective 2.00 ERA. Now you can’t ignore the starting pitching, but it’s also due to a significant contribution for the middle relief. It’s extraordinary to see how the middle relief of the Yankees have pulled together since early into he season. Amongst the now essential Aceves, Bruney, and Hughes, is Dave Robertson, who was a no name as late as May, putting up a 2.70 ERA. He’s part of the continued trend of successful Yankee youth.
Now the pitching is basically the same as it was around eight days ago, when the Yankees were seriously slumping. The obvious is difference is that; the Yankees are no longer slumping. To make it clear the jump they’ve made (starting with those last two games in Atlanta), they were hitting .212 from June 17th to June 23rd. From June 24th to yesterday, the Yankees average has jumped to .283 (with an interesting 8 more runners LOB as a team. Probably because of the increased runners on base in the first place).
So with all the numbers aside, you have to consider the following; The Yankees have heated up against the Braves and Mets, two weak-hitting teams. The Yankees regained confidence will find a buffer in the harder-hitting AL teams it faces as we head into July
And with that, I thank the baseball gods that interleague play is over,
and bid you Good Night.
Topic: Francisco Cervelli
From the time of his first hit of his career on May 8th, I’ve really liked the young, energetic catcher the Yankees have found in Francisco Cervelli. With the .370 average he had posted by May 19th, I was convinced that Molina did not deserve the catching spot above this kid, and that we had come across some sort of backstop-Messiah.
My excitement was spurned on by a slew of headlines; “Cervelli earning respect with Yankees,” and earlier this season; “Cervelli earns rave reviews from Yanks”. He was a force of the youthful energy, the same vibe that led to the explosive four game, three-walk-off routing of the Twins that marked a turning point in the season.
When he cooled down, I kept a dogmatic faith in him, but the quieter, rational side of my brain was telling me that he had just debuted hot. We were now going to see the .190 hitter of Trenton.
In a way, we did. By June 11, his average had dropped to .269, (still hitting better than Alex Rodriguez), and the excitement of May had deserted him so far In June, as Posada had returned to take his spot. So when today he went 3 for 5, I got pumped. Without overreacting, the combination of him in the nine hole, and Jeter in the one hole could turn into something special. They together went 7 for 9. If they did that on occasion, they could win games.
The Calling of A.J. Burnett
A.J. Burnett has been suffering from a very specific ailing that easily summarizes his career. That is inconsistency. And with today’s seven-inning masterpiece, he continues his volatile up-and-down ride that he’s been on since April 25.
Without missing the point – that he pitched brilliantly today – we must confront the issue. If A.J. Burnett cannot pull himself out of this roller-coaster performance as we head into late June, he puts the summer that the Yankees look forward to in serious jeopardy. It is apparent that we cannot rely only on C.C. Sabathia for the Yankee’s success.
Of course he is not the sole inconsistent member of the rotation. Joba could do with some straightening out, and no one wants to talk about Wang. But, if Burnett could pitch like like his stuff suggests he can, the change will be significantly more than just one more good pitcher.
And what better place to start than with the way he pitched against the Mets today.