Monday, July 21, 2008

Hit Parade Carries Yanks To 4th Straight W

We're now about 100 games into the season and I still have no idea what to expect when I watch a Yankee games. The biggest question is always will they hit the ball? After some less then stellar offensive outings, the offense exploded tonight, scoring 12 runs on 16 hits and 4 walks. They had a little bit of everything tonight. I'm a big fan of keeping the line moving, like they did in the 2nd inning. They'll do much better hitting single after single than they will trying to hit a 6-run homer. The "I've got to hit a homer" mentality has always been something that has hampered the Yankees in my opinion. I've blogged several times in the past that they need to concentrate more on getting successive base hits than they do hitting 3-run HRs. Tonight was a good example of what happens when you rack up hit after hit after hit. It was nice though to see a few longballs sprinkled in for fun.

I can't figure out how Sidney Ponson does it. He again allowed a plethora of baserunners but didn't really allow any to score. It's insane. One of these days it has to catch up with him. The law of averages says so, right? Hopefully that day comes next year when he pitches for someone else. But for now, I hope he keeps doing what he's doing. And I'm not sure what it is about the guy that inspires the offense. He's now the beneficiary of 41 Yankee runs in his 4 Yankee starts. Why can't the offense do this every time Moose starts? That's what I want to see. what's really odd is Ponson got the same kind of run support in Texas. The Yankees and Rangers have combined for 103 runs in Sidney's 11 starts. Unreal. for those of you without a calculator or forgot how to do long division, that's 9.36 runs per game, which is the highest in the league for any starter with more than 10 games started. Again, unreal.

Getting back to the offense, it was good to see them set the tone so early with A-Rod's 2-run A-bomb in the 1st inning. And it was nice to see that when Minnesota countered with 2 runs in the second, the Yanks answered right back, effectively winning the game right there in the 2nd inning. 6 guys had multi-hit games tonight. Jeter (2-5), Abreu (2-4), A-Rod (2-3), Cano (2-5), Melky (2-5), and our new full-time catcher Jose Molina (3-4). The mustachioed one was the only Yankee starter without a hit. The Giambino had a rough night at the dish with 3 Ks. I think Jason needs to apply a little bit of Just For Men to that 'stache to reactivate its awesomeness. Robbie Cano on the other hand remained real hot. Robbie in his last 11 games is hitting .364 with 11 extra-base hits. He's tearing it up. Post All-Star break, Robbie is hitting .526 (10-19) with 4 multi-hit games. He's locked in. As I've said the last few days, Robbie has better #s after the ASB. If I remember the stat they flashed on the broadcast, he's a .338 hitter after the AS break. Considering his a career .304 hitter, you can see that the 2nd half #s are better than the 1st. This year looks to be no different. The best thing tonight though was Jose Molina racking up 3 hits. With Posada back on the DL, and possibly done for the year, Jose needs to step it up at the plate. I think with some regular ABs, Jose will do well at the plate. He's shown us already this year he can hit the ball, having batted .364 through the 1st 10 games of the season, roping double after double. But we don't need Jose to hit to that level. Even .250 would be acceptable. Molina's value is best earned behind the plate. He's gunning down almost 50% of base-stealers. That's going to help big time against the teams that like to run, namely the Rays and the Red Sox.

The bullpen? In a word: fantastic. Hawkins may have allowed a run, big deal. As a unit, they threw 3.1 innings of 1 hit ball. Edwar and David Robertson are making a serious push at working their way up the pecking order. Girardi has a lot of weapons down there in the bullpen. The bridge to Mariano now has a lot of solid options. K-Farns, Edwar, Robertson, Giese, Veras. Pick one. They'll all get you out. Besides being able to hold a lead, the bullpen is going to keep the Yankees in the game when the starting pitching has the occasional bad outing. It'll give the offense the chance to work its way back into the game and thus provide the team with a better chance of winning. What's particularly impressive is that the Yankees' bullpen has thrown the 2nd most # of innings in the AL, yet no reliever is in the top 15 in appearances. Now granted that might be different if the bullpen was the same from day 1. I think only Hawkins, Farnsworth, and Mo were on the Opening Day roster. They've mentioned that "stat" several times on YES and they always neglect the fact that 2/3 of the pen has only been around for 2/3 of the season. Regardless, Girardi has a good thing going. The arms in the pen aren't burned out there like they have been in the last few years, getting run out there game after game.

D-Raz needs to keep it going tomorrow. He hasn't exactly been throwing well lately. He's 2-7 in his last 9 starts. The last thing he wants to do is be the 1 starter not to win his game. The 4 before him all pitched well enough to win; Joba of course getting boned by the pen. Rasner needs to take the ball, throw a decent game, and give the ball to Moose to do it all over again. I'm telling you, leaving Fenway in 2nd place isn't that much of a stretch. Make it happen boys. Make it happen.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,