NOTE: Because of the events transpiring in the Stanley Cup and NBA playoffs, we’re sparing many of you and talking baseball today.
NEW YORK, NY – We are one and a half months into the MLB season and the New York Yankees are in first place of the American League East. Yes, you’re reading that correctly! The Bronx Bombers Are Back! After the Boston Red Sox were in control of the AL East for the majority of this short portion of the season, the Yankees took the lead last week and lead the Sawx by a game – all without their superstars.
There is no way anyone can hate the New York Yankees this year with this team. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of the Red Sox or that other New York team (The Mets,) this team is defying the odds. For years the Yankees way to find success was to purchase it, but not this year. They didn’t go after the big-fish like Josh Hamilton, Zach Grienke, B.J. Upton, or Tori Hunter and they didn’t even resign their own big pieces Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano, and Russel Martin. No, these Yankees stuck to their guns and made minimal free agent signings and are playing with multiple minor leaguers.
I predicted this team would hover around .500 until the superstars returned (Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeir and Alex Rod Rodriguez). When those players came back, I figured the Yankees would turn it on and finish with one of the two AL Wild Card spots. Yet at this point, the Pinstripers are poised to win their 28th World Series Title. And they are doing it by redefining the word “overachievers.” Here’s how:
Vernon Wells (.286, 10 HR, 23 RBI, 4 SB) The Yankees traded for Wells at the end of spring training and gave up little for the 3-time All-Star. No one expected much of Wells and his lack of production since leaving the Toronto Blue Jays. But I was a bit more optimistic than most knowing the gold glover was coming back to the familiar AL East, which he lit up during his time as a Blue Jay. So far in The Bronx, Wells is not only a great bat in the clean-up spot, but is a reliable in the field as well.
Jayson Nix (.232, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 2 SB) No, Jasyon Nix is not providing much offense for the Yankees this season, but there is more than offense when it comes to measuring a players value. When the season started Nix wasn’t in the Yankees starting infield and probably won’t be in July. After an injury to Kevin Youkilis at third base, Nix got his opportunity. Then when Eduardo Nunez found himself next to Youk on the DL, Nix slid over to shortstop. He’s made himself extremely valuable because of his flexibility, which also allows him to play almost anywhere in the outfield. I tip my cap to Nix.
Mariano Rivera (0-0, 1.55 ERA, 16 SV, 0.92 WHIP) Enter Sandman. Mariano Rivera has returned to his Hall of Fame form this season after coming back for a gruesome knee injury at the beginning of last season. With Mo acquiring 16 saves in 16 tries, it gives the Yanks confidence that if they have the lead going into the 9th inning they will get the W. It’s sad to see Mo on is farewell tour this season because he definitely has enough in the tank to play at least two more seasons. But hey, it’s great to watch the legend while we can!
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