I found it amusing, and if I'm going to be completely honest with you, slightly annoying how people - mainly national columnists - were crowing that the Yankees needed to look out for the big, bad Red Sox this weekend, as if Boston didn't have three other teams to leapfrog in order to cause a stir in the AL East Standings. And what happened? The Yankees won two out of three games anyway.
Would we have preferred a sweep? Sure, but in the grand scheme of things, any time you can escape from Fenway Park with two wins, even when the current Sox squad isn't doing that great overall, it's a positive series.
And it was nice to see old man Alex Rodriguez finish his first half* strong. He's batting .278/.382/.515/.897 with a .386 wOBA and 148 wRC+. Not to mention his 18 home runs and 51 RBI. Pretty good for a guy who was going to be cut during Spring Training. Am I right, Bill Madden?
Another pleasant surprise has been Mark Teixeira who is healthy and leading the team in home runs and RBI with 22 and 62.
With those two in the middle of the lineup, it's no wonder the 2015 Yankees are in a better position at the All-Star break than the 2013 and 2014 Yankees. Oh and fun fact, they're second in runs scored in the league with 409. Toronto leads with 486. The highest NL team is Washington with 372.
Other guys who are contributing in big ways: Brett Gardner and Brian McCann. Gardner is batting .302/.377/.484/.861 with a .375 wOBA and 139 wRC+. McCann is finally getting adjusted to being a Yankee in his second year in pinstripes. He's batting .259/.331/.471/.802 with a .346 wOBA and a 119 wRC+. He also has 14 home runs and 55 RBI. Of course, more of his home runs are at home again but hey, that's why they brought him over. They knew his swing was great for the short porch.
You know, this post isn't even that scattered. Hold on.
I'm happy that Didi Gregorius is improving and that the torches and pitchforks have been put away where he's concerned. He's hitting better and he's fielding better. Personally, I think the best thing about him is his at bat music. He comes up to "Notorious B.I.G." by Notorious B.I.G. which heavily features a sample of "Notorious" by Duran Duran. And now, any time he does something good on the field, I tweet, "Gre gre Gregorius." Aren't I clever? Yeah, I know.
I'm happy for Tex, Gardner and Dellin Betances for making the All-Star team, but I would have loved to have seen A-Rod make it just for the righteous indignation that would have followed. Could you imagine? People would have flipped out and it would have been glorious to watch.
Oh well. Maybe next year? Could you imagine?
Masahiro Tanaka has made it to the "halfway point" without needing surgery. I wonder what Dr. John Harper thinks of that. Hmm, do you see a pattern? That's the second person I've called out from the New York Daily News. Even funnier, two other beat writers were definitely subtweeting the previously mentioned Bill Madden in a series of tweets the other day about A-Rod. It was that whole, "He's never playing in Yankee pinstripes ever again" thing. I laughed and I'm glad even they think he's ridiculous.
Back to #TANAK. He finished up his "first half" strong with a 7 2/3 two run/two hit performance against the A's. He also struck out six and walked one to earn his fifth win of the season. Sure, he's not as dominant as last season, but he's fine. He also doesn't seem afraid all to throw of his pitches anymore which is a very good thing. Maybe he'll get stronger as the season goes on. (Crosses fingers)
I'm really sad about CC Sabathia. It's never easy to watch the ace of the team become the guy you'd least like to see in the rotation. I've said it before but I really wish Andy Pettitte could coach him into becoming a "crafty lefty." And before people start yelling at me and saying, "HE CAN NEVER BE A CRAFTY LEFTY! HIS STUFF ISN'T LIKE THAT!!!!!" Shush. I'm just throwing stuff out there.
The Yankees went 7-3 in their last 10 while the other teams in the Division (by place) went 4-6 (Rays), 2-8 (Orioles), 3-7 (Jays) and 6-4 (Red Sox). Look at how badly the Orioles and Jays did and how good the Red Sox did and how far they still are from first place. Of course it's way too early to make any predictions. We don't know who is buying or selling at the trade deadline and we don't know what the Yankees may have up their sleeve, but this trade deadline could be very interesting.
Yesterday, Rob Refsnyder hit the first home run of his Major League career, and the fan who caught it wasn't a total douche bag about it and didn't ask for the world in return. This apparently was news. Not Refsnyder's home run but that the guy was willing to give it back to him. Um, no offense to the kid but A-Rod's home runs, contrary to popular belief, are actually worth a lot more than his right now but I am glad he got it back. Good for him.
That was quite a bomb he hit though. And Michael Kay's call of it was awful. "Is it high enough!?" Hello? It nearly cleared the Green Monster. Is it high enough?? Come on. I wish my dad were alive to hear that call. He would have called Kay a jackass and/or waved his hand dismissively afterwards. Knowing dad he'd do both.
I really miss him. I miss talking to him about baseball. I think he would have liked seeing A-Rod's resurgence a lot. He probably would have thought people were being too hard on Gregorius and he definitely would have been cursing out Sabathia.
Anyway, I really hope that when I do this sort of random thoughts post at the end of September or beginning of October, I'm talking about the Yankees making the playoffs. And if I just happened to jinx them, I'm very sorry.
Enjoy your Monday!
*To the punctilious people who frequent this blog, I know it's actually past the halfway mark because the Yankees have played 88 games, but most of the free world, whether it's right or not, likes to refer to the All-Star break as the halfway point of the baseball season so please don't bother leaving obnoxious comments. Thanks!
[Numbers courtesy of Fangraphs]