Yankees Still New York's Team
By: Nick Scott
Well folks, don't look now but the Yankees appear to be the hottest team in baseball. After taking three or four from then 'hottest team' Detroit, then two of three from the next 'hottest team' the Mets, it's hard to argue just how well the Yankees are playing. We missed the series recap on the Tigers series this week, but we have a good one here for you on the Mets series.
The first game of the series was my favorite Yankee game this year. Why? Mark Teixeira showed he's healthy and he's back to his old self when he clubbed two 2-run shots off National League rookie of the year winner Jacob DeGrom. The best part is that they came from the left side of the plate which he's been prone to strikeout from the last few years. Jacoby Ellsbury also notched his first homer of the year off DeGrom.
Another encouraging performance from this game was that of Yankee starter Michael Pineda. Pineda spun 7.2 innings of one run ball striking out seven on the night. His stuff was downright filthy and he had complete control of his pitches all night.
Chasen Shreve took over for Pineda going 1.1 innings and wrapped up a 6-1 Yankee win.
Game 2 NYY 2 NYM 8
The second game, to quote Joe Girardi, was "not what you want." Yankee starter CC Sabathia, coming off a lights out performance his last start in Detroit, got rocked. CC gave up nine hits and seven runs in just five innings. It's not his velocity though. CC just looked like he lacked confidence. He was afraid to throw inside on hitters and they picked up on it and realized they only had to focus on the outside part of the plate. Anybody is hittable when that happens.
Meanwhile, Mark Teixeira continued his tear by tagging Mets ace Matt Harvey for three hits including a solo shot. He was the only hitter that really figured Harvey out though, as he went 8.2 innings allowing only two runs. Truth be told he probably could've and should've stayed in to get that last out and seal the complete game.
Meanwhile, Esmil Rogers looked pretty good only allowing one run in three innings of relief work. With the bleeding stopped, the final score ended up as an 8-2 Met victory.
Game 3 NYY 6 NYM 4
The third game was a win, but a very uncomfortable one. To start the game, Curtis Granderson led off with a solo home run, something he's done a lot of in Yankee stadium. After the Mets added another run in the inning, Alex Rodriguez hit a solo shot in the bottom half to cut the lead to 2-1. In the bottom of the second, the Yankees played some small ball and manufactured four runs all without a homer.
The game got scary from there as the following top half Yankee starter Nathan Eovaldi let two runs score giving the Yankees a very uncomfortable 5-4 lead. After the fourth inning he was pulled in favor of the revamped bullpen and boy did they deliver.
Relievers Shreve, Martin, Wilson, Betances and Miller combined for 4.2 innings of work allowing ZERO hits and just ONE walk between the group.
Dellin Betances was especially filthy and back to his old self as he struck out the side in the eighth despite allowing one of the struck out batters to reach when John Ryan Murphy lost track of the count and just watched a bouncing strike three curveball past him and didn't chase it down. Betances got the next batter to groundout without issue though.
Andrew Miller hit a batter in the top of the ninth but regrouped to close out what was ultimately a 6-4 Yankee win and show that New York is still a Yankee city.
Well I'm going to start with the obvious takeaway: Mark Teixeira is killing it. He is second in all the majors in home runs and RBI with an OPS of 1.044. For those of you who play, he is the eighth best player in Yahoo fantasy leagues right now.
Tex is not only hitting for power, but has found his ability to hit for average again as he sits at .242, which is an improvement from the last few years.
I have been saying if healthy, he's an MVP candidate and certainly a solid offensive and defensive player. We all know what he did he first few years in the Bronx and now that he's healthy again there's no reason he can't sustain his pace and play at that level once more. After all, he's on pace for 68 home runs.
Given the fact he leads the squad in homers, RBI, SLG, and OPS, Mark has been the Yankees best hitter so far this season and they sorely needed this production from him. You can follow the Mark Teixeira Fan Club (me) at @Nyvsbos
Second best Yankee hitter Alex Rodriguez isn't far behind. A-Rod continues to hit and clobbered his fifth home run of the year which is good for second most on the Yankees and he is also second in runs batted in. Coupled with the fact he leads the Yankees in OBP (.405), A-Rod continues to exceed expectations on a huge level.
Michael Pineda was plain filthy Friday. As mentioned earlier he had absolute control of everything he was throwing and it's good to see him settle down from being wildly effective to start the year, to just plain effective. The Mets lineup he faced was no joke either. Pineda has been nothing but dominant since breaking into the league when healthy and he's continuing that trend which the Yankees absolutely need.
Nathan Eovaldi continues to tow the line between good and bad. He's finally getting some strikeouts, but he continues to allow hit after hit after hit. No lead feels safe with him. He also has got to figure out a way to keep his pitch count down so the bullpen isn't eating up four or five innings each time he starts. If he can't, that dominant bullpen is going to wear out and so will its effectiveness.
Esmil Rogers looked pretty good after relieving CC from his tough start. He continues to make a case that he should have the fifth rotation spot. This idea makes a lot of sense given Warren's apparent ineffectiveness as a starter and effectiveness as a reliever.
Overall, the Yankees are playing great baseball. The team is 8-2 in their last 10 games and are tied for first in the American league. The goal is to win two games of every three game series and the team is doing just that. Let's hope the pitching, hitting, and fielding remains solid heading into this next week.