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2011 Major League Baseball First Half Awards- AL Edition

With the All Star Game tomorrow we have chosen our 1st Half Award Winners.  We begin today with the American League, Wednesday we will bring you the National League

Cy Young: Justin Verlander- Verlander’s 12-4 record and 2.14 ERA have kept the Tigers in the race for the American League Central.  Include his sub 1 WHIP, 150 plus innings and his 147 strikeouts Verlander has been downright dominant this season and the easy choice here.  Runner-up 2. Jered Weaver  3 C.C. Sabathia 4. Josh Beckett 5. James Shields

MVP: Adrian Gonzalez- Gonzalez has placed the Red Sox to a 1 game lead in the AL East and helped the team that started off the season 2-8 keep their head afloat.  AGon leads the AL with a .354 BA and 77 RBIs, and has 17 HRs to his credit.  The first year Red Sox First Baseman has translated in Fenway better than anyone could have imagined in the First Half of the season. Runner-up 2. Jose Bautista 3. Curtis Granderson 4. Paul Konerko 5. Jacoby Ellsbury

Manager of the Year: Joe Girardi- When you look at the injuries that have devastated the Yankees bullpen, as well as the sub par April and May of most of the Yankees lineup, how can you not give Joe Girardi credit for the work he has done this year.  Only time will tell on the 2011 Yankees, but the next 4-6 weeks can sew this award up for Girardi if the team is able to hold serve without Alex Rodriguez. Runner-up 2. Manny Acta 3. Terry Francona

Silver Slugger:

C- Alex Avila

1B- Adrian GOnzalez

2B- Robinson Cano

3B- Alex Rodriguez

SS- Asdrubal Cabrera

LF- Brennan Boesch

CF- Curtis Granderson

RF- Jose Bautista

DH- David Ortiz

Gold Glove

C- Matt Wieters

1B- Mark Teixiera

2B- Robinson Cano

3B- Alex Rodriguez

SS- Asdrubal Cabrera

LF- Brett Gardner

CF- Curtis Granderson

RF- Jose Bautista

P-  Felix Hernandez

Jeter returns, Yankees offense returns to June 13th

With the much ballyhooed come back of Yankees Captain and his quest for 3,000 hits, the Yankees offense thanks to in a large part of Indians starter Josh Tomlin’s 7 IP 3 H 2 R performance Monday night at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The Yankees offense seemed to revert back to the pre-Jeter DL levels.  The 14-4 record the Yankees enjoyed in Jeter’s absence was based on Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner seeing 3.5+ pitches per plate appearance while in the lead-off spot.  Jeter’s plate appearance in his first game back in the line-up saw him come to the plate 4 times and see 2,3,1 and 5 pitches in those with a reach on an error in the 1st, a lazy fly ball to center in the 3rd, ground-out to third and a humpback liner to second to round out his night.  Joe Girardi has to take the temperature of his team, and all this could become a mute point tomorrow if Jeter goes 3-5 but with a .256 average and the ability to not hit the ball hard sneaking back into Jeter’s repertoire, Girardi has to respect the 24 other members of the Yankees and not the future Hall of Famer who isn’t producing.

What gets lost in tonight’s 6-3 Yankees loss was that through 99 pitches A.J. Burnett may have had one of his best starts of the season, but that was lost on a foul ball down the Left Field line in which a Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez miscommunication caused the ball to fall between them.

So the Jeter 3,000 campaign resumes tomorrow, but the Yankees and Joe Girardi in particular need to right the ship to not lose the momentum they carried through their 14-4 record sans Jeter.

What’s Brewin with the Bombers is back LIVE tomorrow at 4 PM eastern and can be found here

State of the Yankees at the midway point

Think back to mid February, when fans and media were questioning Brian Cashman on his off-season acquisitions.  What is he thinking signing Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, what is this pitching rotation going to look like? Is a question that many fans asked. Well after Saturday’s 5-2 win over the New York Mets, the Yankees get to the halfway point of the season with a 50-31 record.  The most staggering part of the record is that the team is 1-8 against the 2nd place Boston Red Sox, a team that coming into the season, the prognosticators had them running away with the AL East.

While it is easy to say that Mark Teixiera has had a great season to this point or Curtis Granderson is on his way to the best offensive season of his career, don’t overlook that the 2011 Yankees have their share of problems.  As of late some have corrected themselves, there are still some issues that need to be addressed.

Derek Jeter hitting lead off: While Derek Jeter has been on the DL for a strained calf, Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher have filled in just fine and have flourished in the lead-off spot, but the stress an anxiety caused by Jeter’s impending return maybe causing on players like Gardner who is in flux as to where he will hit in the lineup come Monday.  The argument of many fans an media comes back to is having a 37 year old lead off hitter going to help the Yankees in the short and long term? Well due to the platoon that Gardner is still in with veteran outfielder Andruw Jones is truly keeping Gardner out of the lead-off hole in the order, but this brings up another question while Gardy has lead off against RHP’s since June 14, and Swish has lead off against LHP’s is another one of the decisions facing Yankee Manager Joe Girardi.  The move for the short term is to bring Jeter back into the lineup as the lead-off hitter but give him a very short leash especially, if he doesn’t turn around his season by August 1st.  The other position that the Yankees are now in is to see if Jeter is the ultimate team player that everyone since 1996 has made him out to be.  The move that keeps the Yankees at the top of the AL East and keeps them as a World Series favorite is Gardy 1, Swish 6, Jeet 7, but let’s if THAT happens.

Bullpen: The Yankees bullpen has been downright fantastic this season, without Pedro Feliciano, who has been out since spring training, Rafael Soriano, who has been out since mid-May, but even before his DL stint, he was awful.  Joba Chamberlain who was quickly showing that he could be the 8th inning man or closer of the future, has been lost until late 2012 or 2013, the overwhelming need of a 2nd lefty that can help Boone Logan going forward.  Between David Robertson and his near 1 ERA and Mariano Rivera doing what Mariano Rivera does, the Joe Girardi bullpen management is again a reason why he is in the discussion for American League Manager of the Year.

The Yankees have 2 major problems heading into the 2nd half of the 2011 season, but they are full on ready and up for the run, as fans the good thing is we get to sick back enjoy a nice tall Samuel Adams Summer Ale, in a perfect pint glass or straight out of the bottle and enjoy the 2nd 81 of the MLB season.


Finally! The Offense Explodes!

Posted by Brian Capozzi

While one win doesn’t exactly take away the sour taste left in our mouths after the Yankees-Red Sox series, an offense blowout can definitely help. Backed by a solid outing from Ivan Nova, the Yankees beat the Indians last evening in the Bronx by a score of 11-7. A 4-run 9th inning by the Indians is the reason why the score seems closer then it was. In the bottom of the 1st inning, patience… that’s right, patience is what led the Yankees to a 3-0 lead. Jeter led off the game with a walk, followed by a Granderson strikeout, and 2 walks to Teixeira and A-Rod. Cano stepped to the plate with bases load and drove a single to right field to plate Jeter. Nick Swisher followed up with a sacrifice fly to score Teixeira, and Posada singled in Rodriguez. Fundamentals helped the Yankees work their way to a 3-0 lead heading into the second. A Granderson home run in the bottom of the second was followed by abench clearing ‘argument’ after what appeared to be an intentional HBP at Teixeira. It was a bush-league move by Fausto Carmona who threw a cock-shot fastball to Granderson. That was his own fault and Teixeira should not be thrown at because Carmona can’t hit his spots! Brett Gardner had an RBI double in the bottom of the 3rd, and an Alex Rodriguez homer in the bottom of the 4th inning gave the Yankees a 6-0 lead heading into the top of the 5th where the Indians finally got on the board to make it 6-1.

A throwing error by Carlos Santana allowed Granderson to score in the 6th, and then the Yankees erupted for 4 runs in the bottom of the 7th thanks in part to back to back doubles by Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Outside of a poor performance from Amauri Sanit (0.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER) and 8 walks by all Yankees pitchers, the team won a game that they needed for a while. They played smart baseball and did not rely solely on the long ball. A game like this could help get the offense going and get the team on a hot streak they have needed for a few weeks. Fingers crossed that they can keep this up, and that it wasn’t just a one-game fluke. We know the team is old, but the fact is, they still have talent to get the job done. Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada each collected 3 hits apiece, while Teixeira had 3 RBIs. It was indeed a team effort that we need to see more of for the rest of the season.

Today’s Pitching Match-up
Mitch Talbot (2-2, 4.18ERA)
Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.39ERA)

Yankees Starting Line-up

  1. Jeter, SS
  2. Granderson, CF
  3. Teixeira, 1B
  4. Rodriguez, 3B
  5. Cano, 2B
  6. Swisher, RF
  7. Posada, DH
  8. Gardner, LF
  9. Cervelli, C

What does a 3 game sweep mean?

In 2009 the Yankees started the season 0-8 to the rival Red Six, a few breaks their way and 4-4 was possible, but after those 8 games there was a feeling, a knowledge that they would get their advisories from the Bay State.  Well that feeling isn’t there with the 2011 version of the New York Yankees.  The thought process I have had on this team has only changed for the lesser, because of the injuries and the overall composition of this team.
Due to bad contracts, poor performance, lack of some baseball fundamentals the New York Yankees maybe at a point that they haven’t been in on July 31st in a long time, SELLERS not BUYERS at the trade deadline.  The Jorge Posada DH experiment is working as good as a remake of the Bad News Bears. Posada maybe hitting above .200 for the first time since well there was still snow on the ground.  Posada never wanted to be a DH, has scoffed at the idea in the past and his ego has gotten in the way of him being a productive player on the Yankees, but he isn’t the only 10+ million dollar player not performing to their own standards, let’s take a quick trip out to RF shall we.
Coming off of a trip to his first All-Star Game and his shameless self promoting “Tommy Bahama” Nick Swisher is having the 2nd worse season of his proffessional career (see 2008 Chicago White Sox).  Sure all fans carry a special place in their collective hearts for the “Swisher Salute” and his playful demeanor, but the fact that can not be disputed is his ineptitude in the outfield and unfortunately this year his lack of production at the plate.  Oh and don’t forget base running, where Swisher isn’t exactly graceful at doing that.

When it comes to the rest of the Yankee lineup Derek Jeter, who is climbing the ladder to 3,000 hits, but when it comes to getting clutch hit his last one is over a year ago, and the GIDP against the Red Sox on Wednesday was just his latest inning ending double play, which Yankee fans feel that they automatically have to blame that one on Brett Gardener, but I feel fault lies solely on the Captain. The way Jeter acts after he is hit by a pitch was no different than the way he acts after he is hit by a pitch and the way the ball came out of the plate area, it seemed to me that Gardner could have thought the ball came of the bat.

Curtis Granderson and his 18 HR’s are nice but that is all that you get from him some days.  He is the Yankees MVP so far this season based on numbers alone, but his lack of production on days when he doesn’t hit a HR is very telling.

What the Yankees need to do is figure out what pieces they have that are movable parts and try to get younger.  Unfortunately, this Yankees team is extremely flawed, and now with the injuries is Mets like.  Enjoy the summer kids and the Yankees Mash unit.

Yankees Joba Chamberlain could be facing Tommy John surgery

What started out as a 15 Day DL stint for Joba Chamberlain with a strained flexor muscle in his right arm, which also included soreness near the inside of the right elbow, that has gone through 4 years of “Joba Rules”  has turned itself into a torn ligament, a possible trip to Alabama to see Dr. James Andrews, and season ending Tommy John surgery.

Joba Chamberlain celebrates a big out in 2007

Joba Chamberlain who in 2007, joined the Yankees with a rock star persona and 100 MPH fastball, was hurt by the Yankees “Joba Rules” and the Yankees constant indecision on which would be his role found himself at an impasse of his very young career.  After his disappointing 2010 season, Yankees brass decided that Joba would be a full time reliever and this decision seemed to have given the promising Chamberlain’s career a fresh start.  With injuries this year to Pedro Feliciano and  Rafael Soriano, Joba’s role was increasing and with each outing  the rock star of 2007, was reappearing.  After a 35 pitch 1.2 inning outing on Sunday against the Anaheim Angels, Joba expressed discomfort in his right arm and after further tests, Joe Girardi revealed the torn ligament in his arm.  If Joba, is in fact done for the season with Tommy John surgery, the Yankees bullpen and starters will feel even more pressure than they have in the past few weeks, not only because of the offense or lack there of, and now the dwindling bullpen arms.  One thing the Yankees must begin to be concerned about is will Mariano Rivera continue to defy Father Time or will he succumb to his powers.  If Rivera cannot hold down the 9th inning the way he has since 1997, expect the Yankees to fall out of the playoff race in mid July.

Joba Rules, has more to do with Joe Torre’s bullpen management of the mid 2000’s more than anything else.  In the next few days, there will be a ton of articles written trying to blame this injury to Joba on the Joba Rules, but the rules have nothing to do with the rules that were put in place to for Joba, a 1st round selection in the 2006 MLB draft, to have a long and productive Major League career.  Pitchers who come back from Tommy John surgery successfully usually come back throwing harder than they were before, in Joba’s case he could be throwing upwards of 103-105…..Just a thought Yankees fan.