Hall of Fame Manager Sparky Anderson used to say that he knew what kind of ballclub he had after the 40 game mark. After another lack luster defeat in Kansas City to the Royals(5 to 1) lastnight the New York Yankees have played 27 games and are just 14-13. That is disgusting based on the talent and payroll of this squad. Is this team that is loaded with talent simply slumping or are they this lousy? They had better figure out a way to get it going quickly or they will be staying home come October even with the expanded playoff format.
The starting pitching has been the biggest culprit for this team so far. The Yankee rotation has an e.r.a of 5.60 and just 10 wins as a group. The loss of Michael Pineda has been crippling as his plus stuff was counted on as a factor at the front of the rotation from the day he was acquired from Seattle. Freddy Garcia and his 9.68 has been replaced in the unit by David Phelps. Phil Hughes and his 7.48 start today trying to salvage a split against the terrible Royals. This may be Hughes last chance to proove he belongs as Andy Pettitte is starting in triple A today, in what will be his final tuneup before joining the big league roster. Hiroki Kuroda has been either really good or really bad (last night bad). Ivan Nova although 3 and 1 has a 5.58 e.r.a. CC Sabathia looks like his old self after getting pounded early on but that has been about it. Winning baseball starts with starting pitching. Perhaps if this team pitched inside a little more they would have more success. Something better change and quick.
The Yankee lineup has been equally as brutal outside of Derek Jeter and his .390 average. Yes, injuries this past week to Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher have hurt but give me a break. They are not the Mariners. A-Rod (.260), Cano (.255) and Mark Teixeira (.229) have been between average and lousy which will not get it done. They stink in the clutch hitting just .249 with Cano’s despicable .115 being the real eyesore. I think the problem lies in hitting coach Kevin Long. The numbers in his tenure say the offense has been awesome. To me it has always failed the eye test as they are obsessed with pulling the pull into the short porch in the Bronx and hitting home runs. That is not a winning recipe for championship baseball.
The bullpen has been the one constant for this Yankee team in this first 27 games. Even with the loss of Rivera it should remain strong. David Robertson has yet to give up a run and has a 15.75 K/BB ratio. Boone Logan has stuggled with inherited runners on the other hand and has let some close games turn to blowouts this week against Baltimore and K.C. The group should only improve if Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma return from injuries. Outside of Logan this is the one area of this club that hasn’t driven me nuts on a night in and night out basis.
So, how can the 2012 Yankees get better? Getting Gardner and Swisher healthy will be a start. When they do come back I would put Gardner in the 2 hole, Swisher 3, and drop everyone else down a spot. I think the strikeout prone Curtis Granderson and his 9 HR’s should hit in a RBI spot and not second. Regardless of where they bat a huge key will be Cano and Teixeira actually playing up to their talent and playchecks. That would be a great elixir to a lot of this teams issues. Win or lose today, Hughes should be moved to the bullpen where he excelled during the 2009 World Series run. As I mentioned previously, Garcia should be released as he is just clogging up a roster spot. I like drastic measures ala Mr. Steinbenner but Brian Cashman doesn’t so I don’t see him firing that doofus Long, or releasing Raul Ibanez and then trading for an everyday 3B so A-Rod can become the fulltime DH. I just know something needs to be done or it will be a long, mediocre summer.
About the Author
Written by Brendan Sennott
I was born in the heart of the AL East in the late 70's and am a huge Yankees fan. (Don't hate) I have moved around to a lot of solid baseball markets in my life(Boston, Chicago, Detroit) and was a part-time reporter, producer, blogger, and on air personality for WDFN Radio Sportsradio 1130 The Fan in Detroit. I still live in the "D" and am married with one beautiful 9 month old daughter. My girls are my life. In my media career I've interviewed players, managers and executives in the sport and would love to get back in the business full time. Baseball is my passion. I look forward to shooting straight about the Yanks and M.L.B in my new blog and getting your feedback.