April 4, 2011

Nate’s takes: Colon, Long, Tex, Hughes & Gardner

All right, now that I’ve introduced myself let’s talk about this season. First I just wanted to say that anything that has happened in the first three games means very little. As fans, we tend to overreact to small sample sizes so I will do my best to keep things in perspective.

In a wild first three games that featured home run after home run, the Yankees have to be happy with taking two of three from a potential contender. Although Sunday’s game wasn’t pretty from the pitching side, Yankee fans are drooling over what this offense can do this year. I have made a list of my observations so far in this young season.

  1. Throw everything you saw in spring training out the door. Just days ago, fans were ranting and raving about Bartolo Colon and his nasty pitches. Fans were upset that he wasn’t give the spot that he rightfully won in the rotation. He struck out batter after batter throwing two-seamers on the corner and featuring a new splitter. Well, he didn’t look so sharp against Detriot. Who knows maybe he will raddle of 20 shutout innings, but I wouldn’t count on it from this 38 year old.
  2. Kevin Long continues to amaze me. Not many coaches go into an organization and completely change the swings of half of their hitters over three years. I also love the new two handed approach of Tex, Granderson and Gardner.
  3. Since I do not look at spring training numbers, I did not expect Mark Teixeira to come out swinging like he has. Usually players are what they are. Teixeira is a guy that starts off slow (although last year was worse than usual).  In a place like New York where the weather is cold until May, I did not think this year would be any different. I know Teixeira said he changed his approach this offseason in hopes that he could get off to a good start, but what is he supposed to say? Hopefully this keeps up all season!
  4. What happened to Phil Hughes’ Velocity?  In the minors, Hughes was at 95-96 and in his rookie season he was right about there. Then came the injury in Texas in the middle of his no-hitter and he got down to around 91-92. This year he comes in throwing 88-89? Hopefully we can contribute it to being early in the season or being cold (even though it was warm in Florida).
  5. Joe Girardi: If you have Brett Gardner bunt every time he comes up with a runner on second I am going to scream. This guy gets on base and is one of the most undervalued players in baseball.  Last year he had a 5.4 WAR! (WAR = Wins Above Replacement)
    Mariano Rivera looks the same as he always has - at 41 years young.

That’s all I have for this week. With a full week of games next week, we should have a better sense of the state of the Yankees. Taking a look at the week ahead, the Yankees have four games against the Twins at home and then play a tough (but way too early in the season) three game series in Boston. In a non-bias method, I am predicting taking three out of four from the Twins while splitting the first two games at Fenway.

Since I post on Monday mornings the last Red Sox game will be in my prediction for next week. With my predictions the Yankees should have a record of 6-3 going into the last game at Fenway  (Although it would not surprise me if we swept the Twins). This is only my second time blogging and I am trying to figure out the best way to make my weekly post. I am looking forward to reading all your comments. Enjoy what should be a fun week of baseball!

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