Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Yankees Survive April

Going into the season, the goal for the Yankees in April was to just tread water and not fall completely out of the race with all the injuries they had. The Yankees not only survived April, but they thrived in April. After yesterdays 7-4 win over Houston, the Yankees ended April at 16-10 and only two games behind Boston in the AL East. That 16-10 record incredibly puts the Yankees on a pace to win over 100 games this season. The Yankees had many unexpected players step up for them in the month.

The Yankees are tied for first in the AL with 36 home runs on the season, when nobody expected them to hit as many home runs as they did last year. However, the Yankees are not only scoring most of their runs off of home runs this year like they did last year. The Yankees have a more diverse offense so far this season and have made many comebacks that they did not seem to make last season. In seven of their last 10 wins the Yankees had been trailing at some point in the game. All four of their wins in a four game sweep of Toronto were come from behind wins. Also, they had an exciting comeback against David Price and Fernando Rodney in Tampa and in their two wins over Arizona.

Robinson Cano, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells and the pitching staff have helped carry the Yankees to this 16-10 record. Cano was going to have to be one of the players to carry the Yankees and he has performed at an MVP level. Without much protection in the lineup, Cano has hit .327, with 7 HR’s, 17 RBI and a .977 OPS. Also, he has .413 w/OBA and a 161 wRC+ that would both be career highs for him. Hafner has been incredible and seems to get a big hit whenever he has a chance too. Especially lately, he had three hits and three RBI in yesterdays win and on Saturday Hafner hit a huge game tying home run. For the season, Hafner is hitting .318 with 6 HR’s, 17 RBI, a 1.104 OPS, a .460 wOBA and a 192 wRC+. Wells has been on of the few consistent Yankees right handed hitters, and who knows where they would be without him either. His approach at the plate has been excellent, as he has been using the opposite field more and taking a lot of walks.

The big three of the Yankees rotation has been about what you would expect it to be and winning when Sabathia, Kuroda and Pettitte were  pitching was essential in April. Kuroda has been the best of the three, as he is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. Opposing hitters are only hitting .206 off of him and Kuroda’s 52.4% GB percentage has been the key to his success. He is one of Brian Cashman’s best free agent signings ever. All the talk about Sabathia has been how his fastball is only averaging 89.8 MPH, but you can hardly tell that by looking at his results. He is 4-2 with a 3.35 ERA and he has been giving the Yankees great length no matter what his stuff is. His changeup (21.90% whiff %) and slider (14.20% whiff %) have been outstanding. Pettitte’s numbers are skewed by his disastrous start on Monday, but he has thrown quality starts in four of his five outings and has been just as good as he was last year for the Yankees.

Incredibly, the Yankees did not get any healthier in April and in fact they had to endure even more injuries. Youkilis had to leave the game on April 20th at Toronto with a back injury and has only played one game since and is now on the DL. Francisco Cervelli broke his hand after filling in so well for Russell Martin and is expected to miss six weeks. So, without those two players, the lineup is even shorter these days. Jayson Nix, who is awful, had to bat sixth yesterday. The Yankees will have to survive about two more weeks before Youkilis and Curtis Granderson may return. The teams coming up on the schedule over the next two weeks are Oakland, Colorado, Kansas City, Cleveland Seattle, and Toronto, which is certainly not a murders row of teams. The Yankees made it through April and now they have to make it just a few more weeks before the reinforcements should be ready.


  1. Good recap Matt. With all of the injuries I don't think they could have asked for a better April. You mentioned all of the guys who played great and carried them, but what is encouraging is some of the guys who struggled are starting to turn the corner:

    1) Hughes is throwing the ball well his last 2 starts and Phelps in place of Nova may also be a plus

    2) The speedy trio of Ichiro, Gardner and Nunez are getting it going. Ichiro and Nunez were brutal most of the month but both are hitting very well lately. gardner has hit OK and better than epected with 3 HRs and 12 RBIs but he has had a slow start stealing bases.

    3) Overbay started a little slow and has had a lot of clutch hits lately

    4) The back end of the pen has been great with Logan and Joba in particular throwing much better the last 2 weeks after poor starts.

    5) Adding Nuno to the pen will be a plus providing a 2nd lefty and a guy who can go multi-innings

  2. Joba to the DL, can't believe all the injuries. Who comes up next, will it be Eppley or Monty. I liked the way Eppley and Rapada pitched out of different windows last year, but both have struggled lately. Kelly pitching the 7th could be a problem.

  3. Cashman confirms that Pineda was throwing 94-96 mph, good news.

  4. I read "he pitched at 93 and was up to 95" but a good sign without a doubt considering he wasn't near that in ST last year and that velo is only a couple of ticks off his 2011 readings in Seattle. Will try to temper my enthusiasm until i see him pitching in minor lg rehab starts as I'd expect some ups and downs coming back from shoulder surgery.

    Anything they get from him in the 2nd half will bea bonus in my book. I just hope he can be 100% and a solid starter for 2014.

  5. That sucks as Joba was starting to look pretty good. And to make matters worse, Robertson tweaked his hamstring.

    Think i would definitely consider bringing up Montgomery now. Eppley has not pitched well in Scranton while Montgomery has had as much success in AAA as he's had at every level. I think he's just about ready to be a regular part of a MLB bullpen. The only concern I bet the yankees have is bringing him up just to be sent back down in 2 weeks.

    I don't think they'll call on Montgomery unless the injury to Robertson requires missing some time. He's listed as day to day and with the off day he might be alright. However, hamstring injuries don't tend to go away without rest and can easily be aggravated.

  6. fishjam, I would be happy to have him as one of the starters for the Yanks next year, I really liked this kid the first half of the season a few years ago in Seattle.

  7. fishjam, your right, the Robertson injury really worries me, along with Kelly pitching in the 7th. I might think of moving either Warren or Nuno into that role for a short period of time, and I would bring up Monty.

  8. the whole first half/second half argument against pineda is kinda hogwash though.... look at his month by month numbers (ERA/FIP/xFIP) splits, his K's, BB's etc. there was also a big stink about his velocity drop, which didn't happen until his last game when he pitched on ten days rest, which looks like it was something mechanical when you consider the extreme movement on his pitches that last day. i didn't see it on TV, but it appeared as if he was flying open all night, with the ball cutting all over the place. guys don't like to pitch on one or two extra days rest, let alone five.

    their best bet is to keep his velocity under wraps so the smarmy reporters don't have their hand in forcing the issue once again. just let the guy get strong, get his work in and worry about that as it comes. if there is another spectacle like last year i'm going to throw up in my shoes and mail them to mathews and marchand.

  9. jimmy, My mistake, I'll buy that. I just hope the Yanks can get a break and have one of their young pitchers become a #2. Pineda could be that man. Whether it's this year or next I would just like to see him return to form injury free.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)