Going into this series, Russell Martin was batting .194. He'd been hitting better as of late, and that carried over against the Rays. Russ ended up going 4-for-9, including 2 home runs (one of them a grand slam). In fact, Martin is the hottest Yankee hitter over the last two weeks, as he's put up a line of .357/.455/.679. I don't think he's going to make people want to see him come back next year, but he may make people forget about trading for a catcher before the deadline this season.
As hot has Russell Martin has been the last two weeks, Derek Jeter is kind of cold. Over the same 2 weeks that Martin put up that really nice triple-slash, Jeter's own triple-slash was .216/.310/.275. In the Rays series Derek didn't get a single hit, going 0-for-12, while reaching base only twice thanks to a couple of walks in the Game 3 loss. However, I wanted to point out that Granderson, Rodriguez, and Teixeira went a combined 3-for-34, so outside of Cano the top of the order did very little to give the Yanks the series win.
Rick Vaughn Award
As good as Ivan Nova was on Wednesday, going 8 innings while giving up only 1 run on 4 hits and a walk (striking out 5), Andy Pettitte was just a bit better. Pettitte went 7.1 innings on Tuesday, striking out 10 while walking just 2, but best of all he gave up only 2 hits. Andrew is striking out more batters per 9 innings than he has since 2004 in Houston (8.6 then, 8.1 now), but he's walking even fewer per 9 since 2005 in Houston (1.7 then, 1.8 now). Not sure he's going to continue that all year, but we're all pleased with his 2.78 ERA for the time being.
I'm not a fan of giving a reliever this award, especially when the guy only threw .2 innings in the series, but I can't ignore Cory Wade giving up 2 hits and 1 walk in his one short outing. But I didn't give out this award last week, and no starter "earned" this honor, so Cory gets it.
*The awards are named after one of the best baseball movies of all time... Major League.
Jake Taylor Award - Awarded to the most valuable position player. Named after the hard-nose veteran catcher that, despite making the league minimum, was the heart and soul of the 1989 American League East winning Cleveland Indians.
Gentry Award - Awarded to the least valuable position player. Named after the very first man cut from the 1989 Cleveland Indians, #47 Gentry. A man so insignificant he wasn't even given a first name.
Rick Vaughn - Awarded to the best pitcher in the series. This one is, of course, named after the "Wild Thing". The man that made Clu Haywood look silly in the division deciding game.
Kelner Award - Awarded to the worst pitcher in the series. Named after the Opening Day starter for the '89 Indians. Not a good game for Mr. Kelner, as Indians' announcer Harry Doyle famously quipped "thank God" after Kelner left the game. And yet another bad player without a first name.