Monday, August 10, 2009

Damn Yankees

Although I live in a part of the country where one might expect to hear this kind of talk more frequently than anywhere else, I'm still just about the only person out there saying this right now, and it's a refrain I've been repeating for a solid few weeks at this point:

It's time we start thinking of this year's Yankees team in the same light as those great World Championship teams of the 1990s.

The 2009 New York Yankees are not only the best team in baseball, but they're the best team in baseball in years, quite possibly since the 1998 versions of themselves won a then-record 114 games in one of the most dominating start-to-finish regular seasons in living memory on their way to the world championship.

Sure, the team went out and spent upwards of $260 million last offseason to improve their team, including the two biggest free agent pitching signings in CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, and the biggest offensive signing in Mark Teixeira. But this time, unlike the past several years of futility, it is really paying off in the Bronx. And this isn't just about the Yanks having swept the Red Sox this past weekend and opening up a season-high 6.5 game lead on their arch nemesis in the AL East -- the Yankees have pretty much been utterly dominant, all through the regular season after maybe the first month or so, starting right around the time when A-Rod returned to the lineup from his hip surgery on May 9. For the full season, the Yankees are 2nd in the American League in team batting average, and first in runs scored, on base percentage, slugging, and of course in OPS as well as a result. The team's 619 runs scored is slightly ahead of the Angels, but otherwise they are the only two teams with more than 600 at this point in the season, a full 50 runs more than the NL-leading Phillies, and the Yanks' run differential of +94 also is second in the majors, behind only the Dodgers at +109.

But it's not just the hitting that is crushing this year in the Bronx. Anchored by all-time great Mariano Rivera, the Yankees' bullpen leads the AL in saves with 36, and with the midseason addition of Phil Hughes, it is increasingly impossible to come back on this team if you're not leading after 7 innings. And, again unlike in previous years, the starting rotation has also been holding its own -- no difficult task with the team scoring so many runs early and often that the urgency to hold opponents down is not nearly as high as in previous years -- with the staff currently 2nd in the AL in batting average against at a paltry .253, 5th in OPS against (.745) and 5th in team WHIP at a very respectable 1.36.

And most of all, the team is winning. At 69-42, they boast the Majors' best record and are on pace to break 100 wins for the first time since 2002, and if they can add just a couple of games to that pace which includes a very slow start in April, they will eclipse their highest win totals since that historic 1998 team. Those of you who know me know that I am no kind of a Yankees fan whatsoever, but even I have to admit that Brian Cashman and the sport's greatest team might finally have spent enough money that nothing could prevent this Yankees squad from making serious noise in September and October this fall. I have a very hard time picturing this lineup, backed up by this pitching staff, not enjoying their hard-fought home field advantage come World Series time in a few months.

Anybody know Cliff Lee's lifetime stats pitching against the Yankees?

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9 Comments:

Blogger l.e.s.ter said...

Lee allowed one run over six innings in an April 16 victory over the Yankees and is 4-3 with a 5.09 ERA in eight career starts versus New York.

2:33 AM  
Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:46 AM  
Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

checked my stats, its 4-4 in 9 games with 1 ND, 5.02 ERA vs Yanks. (29 ER in 52 innings)

2-4 in 9 games with 3 NDs and 4.40 ERA vs Sox (27 ER in 55 1/3 innings)

Good news is he always seems to go at least 6 innings vs both teamson average.

4:18 AM  
Blogger DuggleBogey said...

How are the Phillies leading the NL when the Dodgers have a better record?

9:51 AM  
Blogger DuggleBogey said...

OIC, NL leading in runs scored. Kinda unclear there. I just think you like saying NL-Leading Phillies.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Dug,

Yes. And yes.

7:14 PM  
Blogger theshocker7 said...

when did this stop being a poker blog? :-(

7:26 PM  
Blogger l.e.s.ter said...

When a Philly franchise finally won something.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Astin said...

Poker blog? Those still exist?

2:55 AM  

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