Bad Finish to a Good First Half…
I knew it was going to be a bad weekend, and it was…
I didn’t feel right about the Yankees’ series against the Angels. I was excited about the Yankees reaching a first place tie with the Boston Red Sox following their sweep of the Minnesota Twins last week, but I had suspected that they’d lose some ground over the weekend. I just didn’t expect that it would be a three game fall.
Of course, it didn’t help that the Red Sox were playing the Kansas City Royals. Why couldn’t the schedule gods have pitted a more difficult opponent for Boston as their first half ending opponent? There is no doubt that Julia is proclaiming 3 as her new favorite number…
My concerns heading into the second half include:
The only reliable spot, as of late, has been A.J. Burnett.
CC Sabathia has been a disappointment in terms of expectations in light of the monster off-season contract. For the amount he’s paid, you’d expect his performance to more close resemble the performances of Roy Halladay and Josh Beckett.
Joba Chamberlain has been an enigma. You keep hearing comments that he is still learning the ropes, but how long is that going to continue?
Andy Pettitte probably should have retired last fall.
Chien-Ming Wang is on the DL, and has clearly been a major disappointment. It is very likely that the Yankees rotation will include Sergio Mitre.
As much as I’d like Roy Halladay in the rotation, I do not feel that the Yankees should give up the young talent it would take to pull off a deal. Almost any trade would certainly include Phil Hughes, and other blue chip prospects. That’s just not worth it for a 32-year-old pitcher. Of the other possibilities, there really isn’t much to get excited about (Jarrod Washburn?), so it appears that the Yankees will have to find the answers to the starting rotation from within.
Phil Hughes has proven that he is the answer for the bridge between Mariano Rivera and the rest of the guys. He has been very effective as a set up guy, but of course, the question is whether he’ll continue his progress in the second half.
Paul J. Berewill/Newsday
Phil Coke and Alfredo Aceves have been effective, but I am concerned about Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte. I still believe that Marte can return to his previous status as a premier left handed reliever, so hopefully, he’ll be much improved upon his return from the DL.
I would like to see the team find an upgrade for Brett Tomko.
I am supportive of David Robertson and Mark Melancon and would like to see them contribute in the second half.
And then there’s Mo…life is good…
Health is the key for Jorge Posada. He has performed very well, considering his age and despite the time on the DL.
The Yankees learned they may have something with young catcher Francisco Cervelli, who provided much energy and excitement during Jose Molina’s stint on the DL. Plus, further help is on the way with Jesus Montero and Austin Romine. So, while there are short-term concerns about the catching position, the long-term prognosis is very bright.
I think Posada will enjoy a productive and injury-free second half.
Defensively-speaking, Mark Teixeira has provided the best performance the position has seen since the days of Don Mattingly and Tino Martinez. The bat has been very hot and cold. The month of April was very chilly, but Teixera’s bat heated up once A-Rod returned in early May. Mark cooled off in late June and early July, and must have missed the flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles because he was a no-show during the Angel series. Not really, but that’s what it felt like. So, my wish for the second half is more consistency…
The curious case of the missing bat. Robinson Cano is another player who ran ice cold at times. I know that players go through streaks, but again, consistency is the key. I’d rather see someone who is consistently productive than someone who had have a monster three weeks, followed by six weeks of swinging for air.
Derek Jeter is playing better than I had expected him to. He is definitely outperforming his 2008 version, and hasn’t shown any signs of decline. He still makes the occasional error at the most inopportune time, but he’s been very solid so far this year. More of the same in the second half will be much appreciated.
Considering that he had hip surgery in March and didn’t resume playing until May, I thought A-Rod had a very productive first half. Watching Mike Lowell struggle with hip issues shows how difficult it is to come back from hip surgery, so I have to give A-Rod much credit. There have been times that I’ve been frustrated by his bat, but c’mon, if I had hip surgery in March, I’d probably still be in the hospital in critical condition. LOL! Seriously, my primary hope for the second half is continued good health with sufficient rest and full protection for Mark Teixeira in the lineup.
Health is the key for veterans Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. Ideally, the second half will see Matsui being able to play some outfield to free up the DH slot for Jorge Posada or Alex Rodriguez.
Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera have both shined at various point of the first half, so continued progress for both would be key for the stretch drive.
George McNish/The Star Ledger
Nick Swisher has performed capably, but of course, he is still a downgrade from last year’s starter, Bobby Abreu, and he isn’t that player that Xavier Nady is/was. Perhaps Eric Hinske will see more time in the outfield.
While I’d like to see an upgrade for the outfield, I really do not see a major trade bringing someone like Matt Holliday to New York.
In years past, when the Yankees have said that they’d be quiet at the trading deadline, I have taken it as “trade posturing”. This year, I do believe that the Yanks are attempting to operate within a budget (imagine that!) and no major moves are likely. The team will go as far as the current roster takes them. Perhaps a few second half surprises will come from the resources at Scranton/Wilkes Barre or Trenton. But this team is going to win or lose with Joe Girardi at the helm. I do see greater consistency from the big guys like CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, but it probably won’t be enough to overtake Boston.
Nevertheless, the Yankees are in control of the AL Wild Card (they lead by 2 ½ games over the Texas Rangers). They have a 51-37 record. Despite the weekend disaster, they are still only 3 games behind Boston. They clearly have the talent to remain in the mix until the end. Is it enough to beat the Red Sox or Angels? At this point, probably not, but there are still three months left in the season. Much can happen, and the Yankees have plenty of time to overcome their “demons”, i.e., Angels and Red Sox. No worries, well, unless you are Joe Girardi…
Best wishes for a highly successful second half to the New York Yankees! May they be four games better than the Boston Red Sox come October! J
After all, it’s a Yankees Universe!