Hello folks. Jim Johnson here from The Bronx Block. I’m currently watching the Sox help the Yankees in their task of securing the Wild Card and I thought, “Hmm, it’s been a while since we’ve seen one another.” So I thought I’d come over and breathe a little New York into your lives.
It’s been over 2 months since the Yankees and Sox had last tangled and much has changed since then.
- Back then, the Yankees’ third starter was named Mussina, now he’s named Clemens.
- Their first base situation was a mess; a light-hitting defensive wizard more notable for claiming world series balls than hitting and a AAAA player who is struggling to find playing time on the Pirates. That has been corrected by the promotion of Andy Phillips, who is playing a sterling first base and hitting around .300. He has also made some very clutch plays and gotten some key hits in important situations. Time will tell if he regresses back to his career averages of if he has finally developed (at the ripe old age of 30) into a solid major league hitter..
- Cano and Cabrera were hitting a respective .265 and .248 back in the golden days of June. They now sport much more respectable numbers of .309 and .292.
- Abreu has been off and on all year. More off than on. His average has average has gone from .244 to .286 and his current status is “on”, having hit over .600 in his last 2 series. I fully expect that to last for quite some time; right up until the point when we actually need him hitting.
- Hideki Matsui absolutely tore the cover off the ball in July, hitting .345 with 13 homers, 28 RBI and 31 Runs scored. He still has a girly-arm, however.
- Jason Giambi: Last time you were around, Giambi had finally hurt something important and the Yankees were finally rid of him for a decent amount of time (When you have a team that has 4 or 5 DHs, the loss of one of them is always seen as something of a solution). At present time, after a walking boot, a steroid investigation, and most likely, a good amount of free time, Giambi is just on the verge of rejoining the team. He looks to take some at-bats from the current DH Johnny Damon, who is coming off a 0 for 6 with 3 Ks performance in his last game. If you ignore the fact that we have $34 million tied up in one position that doesn’t even play the field, and the fact that both of them are probably going to be rather pissed off with sharing at-bats, it DOES give Joe Torre and option for how he wants to present the team for each game: more power in the middle or (presumably) more speed and table-setting ability at the top.
- The Yankee bench has been vastly improved. Gone are Phelps and Nieves. Yankee fans are sad to see Nieves go because, frankly, he brought each of us a lot of hope (If that guy can make a major league roster, hell, I probably can too). Jose Molina is the new backup to Posada. Doug Mientkiewicz is still out since Lowell steamrolled him. With Andy Phillips replacing Phelps/Minky as a starter, Wilson Betemit is the new utility infielder (time will tell if Cairo will remain with the team). Johnny Damon now fills the role of part-time DH and fourth outfielder. The Yankees have also called up a young slugger named Shelley Duncan who has hit 5 home runs in his first 22 at bats… and could possibly strike out 200 times between now and the end of the year if given enough starts. He provides power from the bench, another 1B option and an emergency right fielder. He’s also incredibly goofy to watch when celebrating or giving an interview.
- Oh right, Phil Hughes is back. If nothing else, that at least means that Kei Igawa is banished to Baseball Purgatory.
- Back then, the Yankee leadoff hitter was hitting .251… oh wait… that’s exactly the same.
- Also the same is the fact that the sixth and seventh innings of the Yankee relief corps are kind of a mess. Proctor is gone, Farnsworth is public enemy No. 1, Myers is responsible for everyone else