May 19, 2009

Why are the Yankees so hot right now?

In the beginning of May, the Yankees lost five games in a row, but the return of Alex Rodriguez and strong starting pitching have lifted the Yankees to four games above .500 —their highest mark all season— and six straight victories.

A-Rod has had a major effect on this lineup, despite his personal struggle to collect hits.  His aura intimidates pitchers and allows batters to see better pitches to hit.  Mark Teixeira has been the most notable to benefit from A-Rod’s presence.

Tex has said that having A-Rod waiting in the on-deck circle when he is up is a big factor to his success.  Teixeira is batting .458 with 11 RBI during the streak, and he has been a key contributor in all of the wins except for two.

Along with Teixeira, the only other constant has been the success of their starting pitchers.  During the winning streak, five of the six games the starter has pitched the sixth inning or more.  The only exception was Phil Hughes when he pitched the first game against the Twins, but the well-rested bullpen was able to fill in for him.  Why were they rested?  Because CC Sabathia tossed eight innings the night before.

When the Yankees batted around in the first inning of their most recent win against the Twins, it symbolized how the Yankees have discovered their recent success.

In each of their last six wins, a different hero has stepped up to deliver the big hit or big play needed to win the ballgame.  It goes to show how valuable it is to have quality players throughout the entire lineup.

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