Tuesday, September 11, 2012
This is probably the biggest hurdle for Andy Pettitte to have to leap over on his way back from a fractured ankle and he just got the green light from the doctor. After seeing the Yankees team doctor yesterday he was given clearance to begin running and will participate in fielding drills in order to make it back to the Bronx before the playoffs.
The Yankees start a three game series starting tonight with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway, their last trip to the historic stadium this season. The Yankees need a sweep here to put some distance between them and the Orioles and the Rays who are playing each other this week. The Yankees will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound and he will be facing off against John Lester for the Sox. The game will be televised at 7:10 pm ET on MY9 and MLB Network.
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Russell Martin C
Steve Pearce 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Andruw Jones LF
Jayson Nix 3B
In 2001, as we all know, baseball was shut down and Yankees Stadium was evacuated when terrorists ran planes into the Twin Towers and Pentagon.
In 2002 former Yankees Phil Rizzuto and Whitey Ford unveiled a monument for the victims of the September 11th attacks on the twin towers.
In 2009 Yankees Derek Jeter not only tied but passed Lou Gehrig for the Yankees all time hit list in it's storied history. The Yankees lost after two lengthy rain delays.
There's a lot of negativity surrounding the Yankees right now, and I can't say it's totally uncalled for. Of course there are those out there that make me roll my eyes, as the team seemingly can't do anything right, but even the most level-headed fans out there had reason to be concerned about the Yanks chances of winning the division, or even making the post-season. But here's the way I see things...
For starters, in the first half of the season the team went 52-33, good for the best record in the American League. The Yanks also had the 2nd best run differential in the AL, and were up 7 games in the AL East. So... how did they do it?
"It was a miracle, sort of like magnets, right?"
In the 1st half of the season Yankee pitching had an ERA of 3.73, while the hitters put up an OPS of .796. So far in the 2nd half of the season, both the Yankee pitching and hitting have dropped. The team's ERA is at 4.20 in the 2nd half, while the team's OPS is at .763. On the surface those numbers may suggest, in actuality, the Yankees aren't as good as some previously thought.
Although I don't expect Yankee pitching to have an ERA of 3.73 from now until the rest of year, I don't expect them to be as bad as the 4.37 ERA we've seen over the past 30 days. Like you've probably heard quite a bit, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle of those numbers, like say 4.05. And over the course of the season a 4.05 would be the 2nd best ERA in the AL East.
I don't think the team will have an OPS of almost .800 from here on out, like they had in the first half of the season. Nor do I think the team will have an OPS of .723, which is what they'd done the past 30 days. Again, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle, like at... say... .762. And a .762 OPS would be #1 in the AL East if it was done over the course of the season.
By the way, that "4.05" is actually higher than the 3.91 the team currently has for all of 2012, and that ".762" is quite a bit lower than the team's season OPS of .783. So I may actually be betting low on the team.
Hopefully the Yankees have better hole cards than this.
As for individual hitters we have to take into account that Robinson Cano has hit .235 over the past 30 days, Nick Swisher has hit .231, Russell Martin has hit .238, Mark Teixeira has hit .240, Curtis Granderson has hit .200, Raul Ibanez has hit .115, and Andruw Jones has hit .140. All seven of those guys are hitting below their career averages, which tells me they all should see at least a slight boost in production. To be fair, though, I don't expect Jeter to hit .361 from here on out, or Ichiro to hit .325 either.
The point is the hitting is better than what we've seen the past few weeks, and the pitching is also better than what we've seen the past few weeks. In my heart of hearts, the 2012 New York Yankees are the best team in the American League East, and they will show it by winning the division by 3-5 games.