Monday, June 14, 2010

Doing What You're Supposed To And A Great Match-Up

Quite a bit was made of the the 16 game stretch the Yankees just completed, where 13 of them were against the Indians, Orioles, and Astros, three of the worst teams in baseball. The Yankees went 12-4 over these 16 games, and did so despite losing the one series they played against a good team during this stretch, dropping 2 of 3 on the road to the Blue Jays. So they actually went 11-2 in the 13 games against some of less talented teams in the game.

Any way you slice it, even including the series loss to Toronto, this is exactly what you're supposed to do against teams like this. It's probably more. I think most people would have said 11-5 should be the goal. That's .688 baseball. 10-6 would have been more than acceptable, as that's .625 baseball. 9-7 (.563) would have been a disappointment, and anything above 11-5, or better than .688, would have been a big bonus. 12-4 (.750) is just that. It's great baseball, even better than could have been expected, even against mostly weak teams like this. That baseball has the Yankees, six games back of Tampa Bay just three weeks ago, back in a tie for first place.

The Yankees now have 25 games left before the All-Star Break. 22 of them are either against good teams or on the West Coast, with the lone exception being a three game set with Seattle at home, and we all know anything can happen in a series that short. At 17 games over, this is a trap stretch for the Yankees. The All-Star Break seems pretty close but in reality 25 games is a substantial portion of the season. Really anytime, but especially in a division like this, you don't want to allow yourself to come up on the wrong side of trap stretches. It's not a particularly easy part of the schedule, and the Yankees need to continue to play good baseball to finish out the first half strong. They've put themselves in a great position tied for the best record in baseball to this point, and have largely played consistently which is great to see. Can't have a let up now though.

A few other notes:

- Each of the Yankees starters has at least six wins. This is the first time since 1939 that this has happened through 62 games of the season (it happened after game 62 on Saturday. Wins and losses are usually not the best indicators of pitching success, but that doesn't mean they never are. Yankees starters have picked up the win in 35 of their 40 victories as a team. That is simply an astounding mark, and speaks to the starting pitching this team has been getting. Despite having scored the most runs in baseball, this offense has had bouts of inconsistency. The Yankees have pretty much always just continued to win, however, because of the strength of their starting pitcher.

- Robinson Cano is absolutely unconscious so far this year. At the age of 27, he has already had multiple All-Star caliber seasons. He is now in the midst of his first take-over, consistent game-changing, #1 type bat, superstar level seasons. The Yankees always had high hopes for him, but this has to be entering the territory of exceeding most expectations. He's been that good. He's hitting .371/.418/.614/1.030 with 13 homers, 19 doubles, 47 RBI, and 50 runs scored. He has 92 hits in 63 games. All at second base. With 99 games to go, there is a lot of time for him to improve on these crazy numbers. I hope he continues to do so, because he's just a lot of fun to watch.

- Fun match-up tomorrow night. Rematch of the two World Series participants from last year. Sabathia vs. Halladay, probably the two best pitchers in baseball across the last three seasons. I get going for pretty much every game, but as a fan this one really has to get you going for a mid-June game.


jason said...

what does everyone think about the brewers/angels debacle last night? I would almost say that mcgahee deserved to be hit after two angels players had been hit, so I would hope his slide was unintentional.. but then again it looked pretty intentional

the gm at work said...

Pat, I think you misused the word "unconscious." Judging by the video game numbers Cano is putting up this year, it can be argued that he has been unconscious in way too many of his previous seasons. I was at NYS over the weekend and I saw the batting average. My first impression was that he must have been injured but it's something that you have decided to just not talk about--like how Teixeira is still hitting .225. But no. He's actually legitimately hitting .370 on June 15. We talked about early MVP front-runners a few weeks ago, and while Morneau still figures to be the favorite, Cano has to be in consideration. Some journalist called him a future MVP, and he doesn't seem nearly as foolish today as he did when he made the claims.

What do you think the difference is, Pat? Is it the player's behavior, seriousness, etc, that has been an issue at times over the course of his career? Is the extraction of Melky Cabrera and the elimination of the option of having fun and doing handshakes when you're hitting .235 responsible for this?