With a quarter of the season being over, and the New York Yankees half of a game out of last place in the AL East, it wasn't surprising Hank Steinbrenner gave the Yanks another wakeup call. He may wind up outdoing his dad when it comes to yanking the chain of the Yankees when they don't perform to their expectations. He is quickly becoming the Jerry Jones of baseball. Next thing you know, he will be in the dugout dressed in a Yankee uniform.
The Yankees haven't been more than two games over .500 all season. Chien-Ming Wang (6-1) has shown he is the ace of the starting rotation. Andy Pettitte (3-4) was 3-1 on April 20th. Mike Mussina (6-3) has pitched much better of late, and was 1-3 on April 17th; so he has shown much improvement.
The pitching of the fourth and fifth starters has been atrocious. Philip Hughes (0-4) has given up 22 runs in 22 innings while Ian Kennedy (0-2) has allowed 22 runs to cross the plate in 23 innings. Allowing the other team a run per inning is not exactly a formula for success. Kei Igawa (0-1) showed he is not the answer either when gave up 6 runs and 11 hits in 3 innings in his first start. He now has an ERA of 18.00 with righthanders hitting .579 against him.
Darrell Rasner (2-0) has pitched well in his first two starts after being called up by the Yankees, but those two wins were against the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners, who are presently in last place in their divisions. So the jury is still out on Rasner.
On the offensive side, Robinson Cano finally crossed the Mendoza line and is hitting .205. After hitting .151 in April, he is currently hitting .350 in May. Jason Giambi, who is hitting .188, has not been above the Mendoza line all year, but has hit 7 homers and drove in 20 runs. Morgan Ensberg is hitting .224 and has only one extra base hit in 67 at bats, which was a homer, with 4 RBI's.
The rest of the starting lineup is doing about as well as expected, except for Alex Rodriguez, who had only 4 homers and 11 RBI's before being placed on the disabled list.
The back end of the rotation is the main problem the Yankees are facing, and Hank is not going to stand by silently while the Yankees falter even if it is the middle of May. Surely, they have someone in the Minors who is better than Igawa to start games. The next few weeks will be interesting to watch to see how the Yankees perform after Hank's wakeup call.
Today they start Ian Kennedy against Scott Kazmir and on Friday, they start Darrell Rasner against Johan Santana in interleague play. This game should tell just how good Rasner is. If he can lock horns with a pitcher like Santana and emerge with a win, it will be a tremendous confidence booster for both him and the team.
This is not a good time to be Joe Girardi or Brian Cashman. The pressure is on from Hank, and they better get with the program or Hank will deep six one or both of them.
Around the Bases
Tom Glavine finally won his first game in the 39th game of the season for the Atlanta Braves. Glavine has pitched much better than his 1-1 record indicates. He has received no decisions in the following games:
Pittsburgh Pirates: 1 run in 5 innings (Final score: Pirates 12, Braves 11)
Colorado Rockies: 0 runs in 6 1/3 innings (Final score: Rockies 2, Braves 1)
Washington Nationals: 2 runs in 6 innings (Final score: Nationals 6, Braves 3)
Pittsburgh Pirates: 2 runs in 7 innings (Final score: Pirates 3 Braves 2)
Those is four games he should have won.
In the Seattle Mariners' 4-3 win in twelve innings over the Texas Rangers, both Ichiro Suzuki and Ian Kinsler went 0 for 6. Suzuki, who had an average of .292 on Sunday, has been 1-for-16 since then, lowering his average to .271; he had a 1 for 6 game on Monday against the Rangers. Daniel Cabrera (4-1) continues to improve his control. On April 28th against the Chicago White Sox, he walked 7 in 6 innings, but in his last three starts combined, he has issued only 3 walks in 23 innings. Jay Payton hit a grand slam and drove in 5 runs yesterday and had come into the game with only 6 RBI's in 74 times at bat.
C.C. Sabathia has only allowed one run in his last two starts, which has lowered his ERA from 7.51 to 5.47.
It is time for the Colorado Rockies to start Ryan Spilborghs, who is hitting .323 in center field, since Willy Taveras is hitting only .232 and Spilborghs is a lifetime .300 hitter. He also leads Taveras in on base percentage with a .392 mark with Taveras at .304.
Chipper Jones hit his 11th homer of the season, and was 2-for-4 raising his batting average to .418.
After giving up 7 runs in 1 1/3 innings against the Braves on May 4th, Bronson Arroyo has allowed 1 run in 15 innings. He left the game against the Florida Marlins with a 6-0 lead, but the Marlins scored 6 times in the top of the ninth against the Cincinnati Reds' relief corps and tied the game. The Reds won the game 7-6 in ten innings, but it didn't help Arroyo's won-lost record.
It doesn't matter who the Milwaukee Brewers trot out to the mound in a closer situation. Guillermo Mota blew a save this time taking the place of Eric Gagne. The names change, but the results remain the same. A 4-3 Brewers win turned into a 6-4 Dodgers win. Manny Parra, who pitched 6 2/3 innings while allowing 1 earned run, could only sit and watch Mota blow his win. On the Mendoza line front, Mike Cameron and Bill Hall, who had climbed over the line on Tuesday, went back under yesterday. Parra drove in two of the four runs for the Brewers.
Michael Bourn, who is hitting .187, is hurting the Houston Astros' offense. If they had someone getting on base from the leadoff spot, there is no telling how many RBI's Miguel Tejada and Lance Berkman would have now. Bourn has an on-base percentage of .260, which is 16th on the Astros, with 4 pitchers having better OBP than Bourn.
Jake Peavy had 8 strikeouts in 4 innngs, but still lost to the Chicago Cubs, as Ted Lilly struck out 11 enroute to an 8-5 win. On a side note, the Cubs signed Jim Edmonds and Felix Pie back to the Minors.
Who Would Have Thought...
- That Justin Verlander would be 1-7 on the 15th of May with a 6.05 ERA?
- That Carlos Quentin would hit his 10th homer of the season, extending his lead over the five AL players who are next with 8?
- That Lance Berkman and Chase Utley would both hit their 14th homers yesterday as they remained tied for the NL lead in homers?