Friday, June 4, 2010

Guest Post: Breaking Down The Last Homestand

Hey everyone! My name is Chris McKeown and I’m going to be a freshman at Penn State this coming fall. I will be majoring in broadcast journalism and I wanted to start practicing on some writing skills beforehand. I’ve been reading Sliding Into Homesince the end of the 2007 season and I’ve been inspired to write for it. I’ve been a diehard Yankee fan since 2000 and I want to thank Greg for giving me the opportunity to submit articles every now and then. I feel this will nicely parallel the 'Series Ahead' articles that preview the upcoming series for the Yankees. Enjoy!

After wrapping up a six-game roadtrip against Minnesota and that other New York team, the Yankees came back home less than satisfied. With only 15 runs scored during the away stretch (yes, that’s 2.5 runs per game), the offense was clearly feeling the effects of an injury riddled lineup. The Yankees batted .173 (9-52) with RISP and the fact that Randy Winn, Marcus Thames, Juan Miranda, Kevin Russo and Francisco Cervelli had constantly anchored the end of the lineup, it was no wonder the production had decreased so rapidly.

And then, the Yankees returned to the Bronx.

To say that the two teams the Yankees played against are bad would be an understatement. The Indians and the Orioles are, quite simply put, atrocious. Both teams were at or near the bottom of the majors in nearly every major statistical category when they came into Yankee territory. Those stats didn’t change an awful lot by the time they left, either.

With Curtis Granderson and Jorge Posada back to fatten the lineup, the Yankees made mincemeat out of Cleveland and Baltimore by winning six of seven games, including a sweep of the O’s. The biggest story of the homestand was the incredible MVP front-runner Robinson Cano. After an already career season leading into last weekend, Cano continued to heat up. Over the seven game stretch, Cano went 16 for 28 (.571) while blasting 3 homers and tallying up 13 RBI. He also extended his hitting streak to 17 games on Thursday afternoon. The rest of the Yankee bats followed suit. After a miserable roadtrip with the bats, the Yankees broke out in style by scoring 55 runs at home this past week. They also went 27 for 78 (.346) with RISP and the big hit always seemed to find them this week. Cano’s grand slam broke the levee on Friday, Jeter’s two run single followed by Teixeira’s mammoth homerun fueled a huge two out rally on Sunday, and Alex Rodriguez’s grand slam on Memorial Day sent the Indians off to Detroit in utter shame.

The unsung heroes of the past seven games have been, without a doubt, the starting pitchers. Other than one setback last Saturday in which CC Sabathia let up 5 runs in 6.1 innings, the pitching staff was nearly flawless. In all the victories, Yankee starters went at least 7 innings while letting up 3 runs or less.

Although it is to be expected for the defending world champions to beat up on two of the weakest teams in baseball, it would be naïve to say that the Yankees can sweep them away all the time. The Orioles and Indians are, in fact, major league baseball teams that are capable of competing regardless of how poorly they’ve performed thus far. The best teams play the weaker teams and win with minimal problems, and that’s exactly what the Yankees accomplished. They are now 8-1 against the Orioles and 3-1 against the Indians. The Yankees trail the Rays by a mere two games in the AL East.

The Yankees will look to continue their winning ways as they head north of the border for a three game set against the surging Toronto Blue Jays.

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