Saturday, April 11, 2009

Getting Things Going With Good Pitching

AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte have calmed some of the early histeria surrounding the Yankees season. After horrible starts by Sabathia and Wang, the new ace and the cagey veteran delivered superb performances in the third and fourth games of the Yankee’s season. AJ Burnett just has some wicked stuff and if he can stay healthy, he’ll be a dominant pitcher for the Yankees. Pettitte was all around solid and no matter what happens with the rest of the rotation, we’ll still have Andy to fall back on.

The bullpen finally got its groove on and has gone from atrocious to lights out. They’ll be good days and bad days for the late inning guys, but hopefully we’ll see a little more of the good stuff in high leverage situations.

A few players have been noteworthy so far. Nick Swisher has really impressed. He had a few key hits when brought in to pinch hit in tight situations. He made one bad play last night in the field but has really stepped up when called in to play. His enthusiasm is off the charts and the Yankees need to hold tight to this guy regardless of the trade offers that may start coming in. Xavier Nady, on the other hand, hasn’t done much and needs to get on track if he expects to stay in NY very long.

Brett Gardner has been a pleasant surprise, hitting well early on, showing the speed that we all knew he had, and covering lots of ground in center field. He might not have the best arm, but he’s made some good throws and some smart plays. If he can keep up his average at the plate, he’ll stick.

Cody Ransom has likewise been satisfactory and will keep things going until A-Rod gets back. It’s sounding like Alex is making good progress with his therapy and might return sooner rather than later, but for now Ransom won’t cost you any games and comes a lot cheaper than anyone else on the market.

Robinson Cano has been downright awesome. I was a big Cano basher last year, and I stand by my criticism at the time but he’s a changed man. He’s worked on his hitting and shown definite improvements. His defensive play has been excellent this year and so far, we’re seeing the Robbie that a lot of guys knew was there, but wasn’t coming out last year. I’m very impressed with his turnaround so far but am a little wary as to whether or not he can keep it up when things get a little down for a stretch.

With the two nice wins, the majority of NY fans are breathing a little easier. If Sabathia and Wang get have better starts with their next outings, then we’ll be even more relieved.

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