Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bottom of the Order Comes Through, Yanks finish April Above .500 First Time Since 2006 (postgame notes 30 April 2009)

Given the struggles of Chien Ming Wang, the injuries to A-Rod and Nady, the low RISP batting average and the sweep in Boston, it may be hard to believe that the Yankees have finished April above .500, but they indeed have.

At the worst, they would have finished the month at .500, and that itself would have been an improvement over the last two seasons, but they didn't just win tonight, they also beat the one team that's given them fits and starts for over a decade in the Anaheim Angels.

AJ Burnett did not have his best stuff, and occasionally looked like he was getting hit very hard, but somehow managed to make it through seven innings keeping the Yankees firmly in the game.

It was certainly not his best start of the season, but he gave the Yankees a chance to win and they took advantage.

Johnny Damon had a solo home run, furthering calls of "bandbox!", but the big offensive moment of the game came in the 8th inning.

In a tie game, Melky Cabrera's single put the Yankees ahead 5-4, and then Ramiro Peña's two-run double, his first two career RBI, put the Yankees ahead 7-4 and the team didn't look back.

Phil Coke pitched an excellent 8th inning with the game tied--it looks more and more like the early season troubles were flukes, though it's still early to tell--and Mariano Rivera bounced back and got through the ninth allowing one hit and nothing else.

I would like to caution that while it seems Rivera is getting hit more this year (and, well, he is) may seem worse than it is simply because of how dominant he was last year. He struggled in April '07 as well and managed to survive the year intact, no?

Ramiro Peña is looking more and more like should have been the placeholder at 3rd all along. He plays an excellent glove and is not an automatic out, and came through in a big place today. He should be sent back down when A-Rod comes back, because he really should play every day. He's not considered a top prospect for the Yankees, but he's taken advantage (or, at least, it seems that way) of the opportunity here.

Mark Teixeira continues to struggle; whether this is his normal early season struggles or if his wrist is hurting a bit more we don't know. He's still walking so his OBP is still up there, but the .200 average can't continue to hit in the three spot if he doesn't pick it up. It's still early and signs say he will recover, especially once A-Rod comes back.

Robbie Canó, thanks perhaps to Bobby Abreu's defense, now has a career-best 17 game hitting streak. He had an 0-fer the rest of the night, but his hit came in the 8th inning--the right time.