10 Games, 10 Thoughts
With 10 games in the books for the Yankees 2014 season, I thought I’d give 10 quick thoughts on what we’ve seen so far.
- The Starting Rotation: Wow this year’s Starters sure do look strong out of the gate. Even CC with his 6 runs given up in the Opening game against Houston seemed to settle down quickly. The 2014 rotation hasn’t filled me with this much confidence since 2009.
- The Bullpen: I’m going to be totally honest here, the 2014 Yankees bullpen scares the hell outta me. Inconsistency seems to be the name of the game so far. David Phelps started the season with a terrible outing in Toronto but pitched two very strong innings last night against the Red Sox to get the save. We’ve seen Dellin Betances go from a strike throwing machine to someone who can’t find the plate. Matt Thornton taking over duties as the Lefty out of the pen seems strong. Certainly more questions then answers so far, expect to see some new additions before the Trade Deadline.
The Closer: I have made it known my faith in Robertson as the closer isn’t that strong but with him going on the DL due to a groin injury so early in the season it has made me question his health overall. Unlike 2012 where Robertson went down with the injury bug after Mo’s unfortunate injury, we don’t have a Rafael Soriano waiting in the wings. Our 2014 replacement so far, Shawn Kelley had a very rocky outing against the Orioles giving up the 2 game winning runs in the top of the 9th. If Robertson is ineffective upon his return the Yankees will have a problem they haven’t had since 95.
- Tanaka Time: The glimpses we saw in Spring Training told us he would be good. How good has been proven in both of his regular season starts. He’s not been perfect, like anyone if he pitches up in the zone and leaves the meatballs out in the open he will be tattooed, and hard, but his splitter is devastating to hitters when it’s low in the zone. If his first two starts of the season have shown anything it’s that Yankee fans have a lot to look forward to in the future.
- Pineda Power: Let’s face it, fans had made up their mind that the trade that gave us Pineda & Jose Campos for Jesus Montero was a bust. Pineda appeared at Spring Training in 2012 overweight and with diminished velocity. He was later put on the DL, had surgery and people wondered if we’d ever see the Pineda that pitched so well in Seattle during 2011. Well 2014 has shown he’s perhaps better than ever. He seems to have greater control of his command and has worked on his out pitch, a nasty slider thats already helped him rack up 12 K’s through 12 innings. I can’t wait to see what he does the rest of the season.
- The Infield: The 2014 Yankees infield is not the star filled infield we are used to in the Bronx. After Teixeria went on the DL with a hamstring injury, Derek Jeter is arguably the only recognizable Yankee on the dirt. However Brian Roberts, Yangervis Solarte, Kelly Johnson and Dean Anna have all performed well fielding their positions. Roberts will never be Cano but he sure can pick it at 2nd. Johnson made a spectacular play at 1st last night robbing David Ortiz of a hit on a screaming liner and Solarte has more then proven himself. We will have to see how this group holds up under the grind of the season but personally I love what I’m seeing so far.
- Derek Jeter: Oh how I am going to miss you Captain. Jeter looks as good as you would expect, perhaps even better in fielding his position. One things for sure, he’s going to make his last season in Pinstripes memorable.
- Solarte: Yankee fans have had to suffer with the maddening inconsistencies of Eduardo Nunez. The utility player could swing the bat but his adventures in the field were just that, an adventure. So after Solarte tore up the ball in Spring Training and proved how versatile he was in playing different positions, we weren’t too sad to see Nunez go. After Teixeira went down, Solarte’s ability to play 3rd allowed Girardi to slot Kelly Johnson into 1st. Then he started hitting. Oh boy did he start hitting. Solarte is probably one of, it not the hottest hitter on the team, perhaps even the AL. What comes up, must come down but I sure am enjoying the Solarte ride!
- The Lineup: Okay so we’ve seen the good ol’ RISP fails that have plagued the Yankees most of the 21st century, McCann can’t seem to get a hit, Soriano couldn’t get a hit and we’ve had to bat Ellsbury 3rd after Tex went on the DL. Now lets look at the good parts, Ellsbury is a hitting machine, Solarte can’t stop murdering the ball, Beltran and Soriano are pulling out of their slumps and the Yankees are not making it look impossible to scrape together more then one run. Baseball is all about lows and highs, the Yankees are no exception.
- 5-5: Through 10 games the Yankees are at .500. In the insanely competitive AL East this is beyond awesome. Yankee fans are incredibly demanding but sometimes we gotta step back, pat ourselves on the back and say “Not bad.”