Opening StatementThis was a huge week for the Yankees, going against the two best teams in the American League, the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers. If the Yankees want to get back to the World Series, they're going to have to go through those two clubs, so it was important to play well in the back-to-back series. The Yankees held up well, splitting the six games, including winning two of three from Detroit. The most important thing to come out of the two series was the pitching of CC Sabathia. The Yankees ace beat the Rangers last Monday and then the Tigers Sunday afternoon. Sabathia, as usual, is key to the Yankees season. The Bombers are 12-9 and in third place in the AL East, 1.5 games behind Baltimore.
|Derek Jeter scores the game-winner Friday night. (AP photo)|
The High PointWith a wave of his hand, Alex Rodriguez signaled in Derek Jeter for the winning run Friday night to beat the Tigers in a game the Yankees absolutely had to have. Rodriguez was at bat when the pitch got past catcher Alex Avila. Jeter, however, couldn't see how far the ball got away, but he did see A-Rod waving him home. Jeter beat the throw back to the plate and the Yankees had the victory. The wave home by Rodriguez was the topper on a solid night, as he hit home run No. 633 and had two RBI. The Yankees tied the game in the bottom of the eighth and won it in the ninth inning.
The Low PointFreddy Garcia was terrible yet again Saturday afternoon in a loss to the Tigers. Garcia couldn't get out of the second inning, allowing six runs on five hits in dropping to 0-2 on the season. It likely could be his final start ever for the Yankees, as manager Joe Girardi finally made a good decision and took him out of the rotation. The worst part was the Yankees bullpen did the job, allowing just one run in seven-and-a-third innings. The Yankees lost 7-5. Obviously, the team is hoping Andy Pettitte returns sooner rather than later.
|Freddy Garcia may have started his last game for Yankees. (AP)|
Three UpCC Sabathia: The Yankees top starter went eight innings in both of his last two starts, beating both the Rangers and Tigers this week. He allowed four runs on seven hits and struck out eight in a 7-4 win at Texas Monday, and then allowed just four hits and two runs with another eight strikeouts in a 6-2 win over the Tigers Sunday afternoon. With all of the Yankees struggles from their starting pitchers, Sabathia's back-to-back performances were of dire need.
David Phelps: The Yankees rookie pitcher is going to get his opportunity to shine as he replaces Freddy Garcia for at least one start going forward. After a great start to the season, in which Phelps allowed one run in eight-and-a-third innings, he's allowed six runs over his last nine-and-a-third innings. This is Phelps' chance to make his case as a starter and he has to make the most of the chance.
Derek Jeter: Not enough can be said about the Yankees captain. Even when he saw his 15-game hit streak snapped Friday night, he still managed to score the game-winning run. He was 10-for-23 this week and is batting .396 with six doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI for the season.
Three DownFreddy Garcia: The Yankees made a mistake bringing Garcia back this offseason and they have paid for it so far. Garcia's four starts have all been bad, the worst coming in his last two, where he couldn't get out of the second inning in either. He has a 12.51 ERA and will finally be pulled from the rotation, something he should have never been part of in the first place.
Mark Teixeira: The first baseman was just 2-for-24 this week and has no hits over his last 14 at-bats. Teixeira looked to turn things around this season with a huge game against Boston last Saturday, but that hasn't been the case. He's batting just .229 with three home runs and 12 RBI on the season, which is inflated by his two home run, 6-RBI game against the Red Sox.
Russell Martin: The catcher did have a two-run home run in a win Friday over the Tigers, but the highlights have been few this season. He was 2-for-12 this week and is batting .176 on the season. Of course, his struggles are compounded by the fact the Yankees traded away Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda, who is lost for the season and might not never pitch again. Montero might not have been the starting catcher this season, but he sure could have done better all-around than Martin has.
What's Next?The schedule gets light for the Yankees this coming week, although that might not exactly be the case this year when you look at the standings. The Yankees will host the Baltimore Orioles for three games to start the week, which typically would be one of the easier series for the Bombers. But the Orioles are off to a solid start and are in first place in the AL East. Still, the Yankees are the better team and should expect to take at least two out of three. Then, it's to the road for a four-game set with the Kansas City Royals.
More on the Yankees:
State of the Yankees - Edition II
State of the Yankees - Edition I
Michael Pineda lost for the season