Bad Finish to a Good First Half…

 

I knew it was going to be a bad weekend, and it was…

 

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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. 


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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…

 

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My concerns heading into the second half include:

Starting rotation. 

The only reliable spot, as of late, has been A.J. Burnett.

 

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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.

Bullpen.

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…

 

McIsaac/Getty Images

 

Catcher

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.

 

The Yankees and the Mets may fight it out for Jorge Posada.

Kathy Willens/AP

 

First Base

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…

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

Second Base

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.

 

 

 

Shortstop

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.

 

 

Third Base

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.

 

Newscom

 

Outfield

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.

Conclusion

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…

 

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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

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

After all, it’s a Yankees Universe!

 

9 Comments

I like the #3! ;-) And I would have to agree with you on consistency. That is certainly my hope for the Red Sox this second half. Will the Yankee’s huge contracts payoff in the second half? I don’t know – but what I do know is that Mike Lowell (who we would have probably traded if we had acquired Tex) is hitting .282 and Youk is hitting .298 – not so bad for two guys who have spent some time on the DL. I look forward to the second half – and may the Yankees stay “in control of the Wild Card”! ;-D

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Haha, 1,2,3 =3. Nice post. Teixeira is a player and nice pic of arod! I have a new post up :)
http://balorioles.mlblogs.com/

I wouldn’t be too down about the sweep. It isn’t good, no doubt. But it kept hope alive down here in the Tampa Bay area! So you guys did a good deed for the rest of us!

It is shaping up to be a nice run to the end here between Boston, NY, and the Rays. I’m hoping this Longoria injury is just a little one so that we can be at full strength the rest of the campaign.

Cute dog. Reminds me of mine.
http://raysfanboy.mlblogs.com/

you know what, I expected the Yanks to struggle against the Angels, as past seasons have shown us, we can never beat them at Anaheim. However, the sweep wasn’t expected either. I’d say we have a really good chance to take over first place by the end of the season, I doubt Beckett and Wakefield will BOTH perform nearly as good as they have this second half, but then again, we can never underestimate the Rays. CC needs to step up, Joba needs to admit he’s doing terribly and swallow up his pride, and everytime Tex and A-rod are hitting, you know it’s a good thing. It’s most def going to be a thrilling finish…and I hope to see the Yanks and the Rays make it to the postseason!

I guess I have to say “Thank you” to the Yankee pitcher for getting the save for the Red Sox pitcher! ;-) Okay – that is just too weird to say – and they were both closers! lol! And you were so right Scott – Wakefield deserved to pitch in that game! He never should have been left sitting in the pen. RSN is not going to forget that. But onto bigger and better things – the second half of the season where the Yankees will NOT be four games better then the Red Sox! I know, I hate to burst your bubble so soon, but better now then later! LOL!! See you in August! ;-) hmmm…11 could be my new favorite number.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

You wouldn’t trade Joba to get Halladay??????

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Oh toronto would love that. NOT. Can you imagine Joba in a Jays uniform?
Ginny
http://watercooler.mlblogs.com

I think it’s time for Joba to go back to the pen. Even if he is “still learning the ropes,” a pinnate race is no place to do that. I think he is a mediocre starter at best, top notch closer though.
http://moneyball.mlblogs.com/

Scott – I just had a brilliant thought! {Yes, I know – all my thoughts are brilliant! ;-)} The Yankees could sign Lugo just so he could sit in the stands – you know, so there would be one less empty seat! LOL!!! Oh wait – I’m serious! ;-)

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

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