break down the New York Yankees at the All-Star break. They're hitting them out of the park at an impressive rate, but do they
have enough starting pitching to continue their winning ways in the second half or
will injuries to the rotation get to them?
The Yankees are a
season high 19 games over .500 but have major issues with their starting
The Bronx Bomber
offense has been absolutely on fire, which is why the Yanks are streaking at
the moment. We all know, however, that in baseball it all boils down to starting pitching, and the Yanks have some serious question marks there. Staff ace C.C. Sabathia is on the 15 day DL while long time veteran Andy Pettite is on the
60 day DL. Since the start of the season, the injury bug has bitten N.Y. pitchers, especially when you consider that big offseason acquistion, Michael Pineda, suffered
a season ending injury in spring training. And, we all know about the injury to the
greatest closer of all time in Mariano Rivera. So, the question now is,
just how long can this Yankee lineup continue to carry the team? How long can
they get by treading water with a starting rotation of Ivan
Nova, David Phelps, Freddy Garcia, Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes? Of that group, the only one who has been consistent is Ivan Nova - and his ERA is
just below 4. Brian Cashman needs to wheel and deal at the trading deadline and bring in some help because, with this starting rotation, they stand no chance down the stretch or in the playoffs when they are playing the best of the best.
Players who have
stepped up big time
There was panic in New York when Mariano Rivera
went down with a season-ending injury,
but Rafeal Soriano has silenced all of that completely. Soriano is on pace for 40 saves; he's already got twenty at
the All Star break and has been virtually unhittable with an ERA of 1.60. Hitters
are hitting just .233 off him, and he has yet to serve up a deep ball so far this year. Soriano was originally brought in to be the set up man for MO; consequently, David Robertson has been the 8th
inning man. His teammates call Robertson
"Houdini" beause he often puts runners on base but always manages to
get out of the jam. Like Soriano, Robertson has been untouchable, too. Guys are
hitting just .207 off him, and he has recorded 40 strike outs in just 24 IP with
an ERA of 2.55. So, the back end of the bullpen is about as solid as can be.
Then you have a few
role players who have stepped up big such as Andruw Jones. While Jones is hitting
just .244, he has given the Yanks tremendous production in the power department; in a limited action, he has produced 11
HRs and 22 RBI to go along with Gold Glove defense. Eric Chavez has come up with some huge, clutch hits all season long. Coming off the
bench, Chavez is hitting .282 with 7 HR and 19 RBI. Granted those may not sound
like big numbers, but people just don't know how hard it is for bench players
to come in, pitch hit, or get a start here and there and actually produce. It's
one of the hardest things to do in the game. So, for these guys to be putting up
numbers like this has really rounded out the Yankee offense, giving them a
Are there any
legitimate threats in the division that can chase down the Yanks?
Currently, the Yankees
are in first place, 7 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles and 9.5 games ahead
of their hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox. The AL East has been one of the toughest divisions in baseball. For a while the Orioles
looked prime to give the Yankees some trouble, but they have gone into a landslide
and now sit at just 45-40 on the season. Tampa Bay does not have enough offense
to get the job done. In our opinion, the only real threat is the Red
Sox, even though they are 9.5 out; there is still plenty of baseball to be
played and we have seen bigger collapses than a 9.5 game lead over the years.
The Sox have all the talent in the world but have yet to put it all together.
It's going to be very interesting once they get MVP candidate Jacoby Ellsbury
and Carl Crawford back. With those two back in the lineup, we give the edge in
overall offense to the Sox and with the injuries to the Yankee starting
rotation, it's very possible the Sox could run them down if they put it all
together and start hitting on all cylinders.
The Yankees will
without a doubt make the playoffs, whether it's by winning the divison or a wild
card spot. Winning the division is more likely but, as we said before, they cannot go into the post season with this current starting rotation and expect to
get shutdown performances against some of the best teams in baseball. If the
Yankees want to make a serious run at the World Series, Cashman is going to
have to bring in effective starting pitching; otherwise they will only make out
of the 1st or 2nd round, like they have the past 2 years. There is just far too much great hitting in the AL for Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia and
David Phelps to match up with. The problem is the Yankees gave up a lot of
prospects in the Michael Pineda deal, so they really dont have much to offer
teams in a trade so they very well be stuck with what they have and it could be
another dissapointing 2nd round exit in the play offs for the Bronx Bombers.