Sunday, June 2, 2013

Welcomed With Open Arms

             With the Yankees riding high to the peak of being twelve games over .500, while receiving contributions from youngsters such as David Adams and crafty veterans like Lyle Overbay, many were wondering if the 'Re-Enforcements' would hurt the good chemistry that had developed in 2013. Well, a nightmarish four-game sweep at the hand of the lowly Mets and a de-moralizing weekend series loss to Boston has left the team begging for any shred of offense as they fall down to 3rd Place in the AL East.

              Before any of the 'Re-Enforcements' came back, one needed to be added to the ever-growing list. Andy Pettitte tweaked a trapezoid muscle, or something, in his back and needed a 15-Day DL stint. He's scheduled to be back today, thankfully.

             The first big name to return was Curtis Granderson, who broke his forearm during the opening Spring Training game this season by an errand pitch. After a week back in the "Bigs", Granderson was sent back down, thanks to another hit-by-pitch at Tropicana Field that broke a bone in his pinkie finger. This break isn't listed as severe as before and will only require five weeks before he can return. Some rotten season so far for a player in his contract year who needs to put up big numbers to get a nice new juicy deal.

             After a great weekend against the Rays (despite the Granderson injury) which included an amazing comeback against Fernando Rodney, the Yanks were geared up for the 2013 Subway Series which had been designed differently this year. Instead of the two weekend series showdowns, this time it would be four games during the week, with two in Flushing and two in the Bronx. The Mets had been reeling badly coming in and this was shaping up to be a shellacking at the hands of the Yanks, or three out of four games at the very least, knowing Mets pitching phenom Matt Harvey was starting one of them. This series would turn out to be the beginning of the bump in the road everyone had been anticipating with this surprisingly successful undermanned Yankee squad.

            The Mets took all four games!!

            This included two-walk off wins at CitiField, smacking David Robertson around one night and causing Mariano Rivera to blow his first save opportunity of the season. Then at Yankee Stadium, the Mets totally pounded David Phelps one night and got a great pitching performance from Dillon Gee the next as he struck out twelve Yankee batters. Other than the bad Phelps start, Yankee starting pitching did their best to keep their team in the games, but the offense completely hit a wall and getting Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira back for the Boston series was at an opportune time.

           Things looked promising the first game against the long-time rivals. CC Sabathia turned in his best performance of the season going 7.1 innings and holding the Sox to one lone run. Both Teixeira and Youkilis were instrumental in Yankee rallies that lead to a 4-1 Yankee win. Any thoughts the Yanks had snapped out of their offensive woes were washed out over the next two games. The Sox battered the Yankees 11-1 the following night and shut down the Yanks the next night 3-0. Although, the finale was called by the 6th inning due to rain, but it didn't seem like it would've made a difference anyways. They can't find their hitting!!

31-25 (3rd Place AL East - 3 Games behind 1st Place Boston Red Sox)

-Hiroki Kuroda has transformed into the team's most reliable starter (which has been the case since 2012).
-Ivan Nova has life on his pitches again since he's returned from the DL, but for now he's being used solely as long relief. It looks like its David Phelps' starting job to lose.
-Vidal Nuno looks like a keeper!! Even if he's sent back down to the minors, the lefty starter has shown alot of poise and maturity during his first major league stint. Hopefully he'll be a regular in the rotation in the future.
-Lyle Overbay seems to have a knack of getting clutch hits late in ballgames.
-Brett Gardner made some unbelievable catches at CitiField and has been very good as the Yanks lead-off hitter.

Foul Tips:
-Taking away the good start recently against Boston, CC Sabathia has been struggling to keep the other teams off the scoreboard and posts a mediocre 5-4 season record.
-Chris Stewart needed to stay out a few games to rest his groin, but now he left a game to deal with dizziness. Austin Romine seems to be the only healthy catcher.
-After a good start with the bat, David Adams has stopped hitting. Perhaps scouts have figured out something with Adams that Adams doesn't know about.
-Travis Hafner never needed a DL stint for his sore shoulder, but aside from one tremendous homerun in Camden Yards, his power has taken a major vacation.
-No word yet on returns for Nunez, Jeter, and A-Rod.

-Ichiro has looked horrible all season long at the plate, thankfully he hasn't carried it into the field.
-After the hot start from Vernon Wells, he's now looking like the Wells the Anaheim Angels wanted to get rid of in the worst way.

              With the return of Teixeira of Youkilis, pending they too don't get a case of the 'Curtis Granderson' Curse, the lineup will be deeper and that takes the pressure off the likes of Ichiro, Wells, and even Cano. The team had smooth sailing all season long up to this point, they had to struggle eventually.

               It happens to every team every season, and at multiple times.....