April 18, 2011

Nate’s Takes: Soriano, Hughes, predictions

Hello again everyone. After a win against the Texas Rangers Sunday Night, the Yankees stand at 9-5 which is good enough for first place in the AL East. Last week I predicted the Yankees would go 3-3 against the Orioles and Rangers. Again Mother Nature didn’t want the Yankees to play a mid-week game, but they still finished ahead of my prediction at 4-1. Meanwhile this was a well-played five games for the Yankees following a tough series in Boston. Here is my take on the week.

I am willing to give Rafael Soriano a break since the weather has been really bad. Hopefully he can turn into the eighth inning option we all expected (he looked good Sunday night). The thing is that with all these earned runs early it will be really hard for him to have an ERA below three or four this year. He has allowed six earned runs this year after only allowing twelve all of last year. If we get to August and our eighth inning “closer” has an ERA of 4.50, are other teams at all intimidated? Also, he will definitely be picking up that twelve million dollar option.

It was nice to see the Yankees again give away free tickets to fans who purchased tickets to Friday’s game. The Yankees (and ticket brokers) have struggled to sell tickets this year. As you can see on TV Yankee Stadium looks empty. Hopefully the low attendance will force the Yankees to start lowering prices………

All Yankee fans should be holding their breath that Alex Rodriguez doesn’t go on the DL. As much as I dislike the guy, they need him in the lineup healthy again (although, like I mentioned last week, Eric Chavez looks great).

The Yankees finally put Phil Hughes on the DL instead of sending him down to the minors (rumor has it he begged to not be sent down). Hopefully his velocity somehow comes back. Our rotation now consists of CC Sabathia, a righty who lost 15 games last year on a team that won 95 (A.J. Burnett), a kid who struggles to record strikeouts and make it out of the fifth inning (Ivan Nova), a veteran who hasn’t started in the majors since 2009 (Bartolo Colon) and Freddy Garcia, who can’t hit 90 mph. Is it the trade deadline yet?

Don’t look into Freddy Garcia’s six shutout innings on Saturday very much. The weather was brutal and I would still be surprised to see Colon and Garcia on the Yankees roster by September.

Joba Chamberlain looks very similar to last year  (which really isn’t a bad thing).  He is going to come in and get the job done more often than not.  Hopefully this year when he has a bad outing he can limit it to a run or two and not five.  Although relievers are known for being consistently inconsistent, I still think that Joba has the stuff to be a fixed piece of the Yankees bullpen for years to come.

Derek Jeter is still hitting ground ball after ground ball. You would think he would realize this and start to make his swing more of an upper cut? It honestly wouldn’t surprise me if Jeter has less than 10 home runs this year.

Could CC Sabathia not having as many wins this year lead to a smaller contract/ extension? Probably not, but it’s interesting to think about (although I’m sure his agent will quickly bring up his 2.52 ERA). I am still very confident he wins at least 15.

That’s it for this week. The Yankees go on the road for what seems like the first time this season. They have a brief two game series versus the Blue Jays and then travel to Baltimore for another three games versus the Orioles. I don’t see any reason why the Yankees can’t take four out of five games from teams that are below them in the division.  

Here are random predictions for this week:

  • Mariano Rivera finally gives up his first earned run of the season (and Yankee fans everywhere wonder if he is finished).
  • Yankees release Kevin Millwood (although the Yankees may wait another week).
  • Knicks beat the Celtics in six (As I write this Carmelo Anthony misses a three to end the game)
  • Rangers in six
  • Enjoy what should be a fun sports week in New York.

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