Yankees Lineup Slugging Its Way Back After Slow Start to the Season

Christopher ConnorsCorrespondent IApril 15, 2013

Brett Gardner watches the flight of his two-run home run Sunday night in the Bronx.
Brett Gardner watches the flight of his two-run home run Sunday night in the Bronx.Al Bello/Getty Images

We live in a world with a 24-hour news cycle that renders stories of great importance, as good as yesterday's news after mere hours. The American sports media sure seems focused on the latest and greatest, while the New York sports media seems to pounce on faults and fears with no compunction. 

So it's no surprise that after the Yankees' slow start to the season last week triggered the usual columns and "Chicken Little" cries that the sky was falling in New York City. This is, after all, the Yankees! They're supposed to win every game and if a few losses early in the season mount, everything is falling apart!


What a difference several days and a few wins make because suddenly, the Yankees' new lineup additions have been fantastic and the run production has followed suit. There aren't too many calls for Brian Cashman's head about acquiring Vernon Wells right now.

Nor Travis Hafner or Kevin Youkilis. All is great in the Yankee Universe as long as the bats stay hot and the big numbers pile up on the Yankees' half of the scoreboard. And that's exactly what happened last week in the upper Midwest. The Yankees battered the Cleveland Indians.

Then the team came home to the Bronx and rode the pitching performances of CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, along with some timely hitting, to take their first series victory of the season, over the Baltimore Orioles.

It's becoming harder and harder to figure out which Yankees lineup we'll see this season: The one that looked like a lower-rung American League team to start the season in the Bronx, or the business-as-usual Bronx Bombers that made Tigers ace Justin Verlander look ordinary last Sunday and then pulverized the Cleveland Indians?

Herein lies the problem with rushing to judgment and basing conclusions on a baseball team only two weeks into the season. Chances are, Kevin Youkilis will not finish the season with an OPS near 1.000, and the big money is on Vernon Wells' batting average taking a dip from the healthy .324 he has now.

But would it be a stretch to hypothesize that the new Yankee acquisitions and some of the younger veterans, like Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli, might have productive seasons? No one's saying All-Stars—but above-average run producers and hitters that get on base is what the Yankees expect.

It's early, but the fans should expect a lot more from this lineup than was originally thought. These are professionals with strong track records and they've been given the opportunity, in lieu of injuries, to show what they've got.

They're making the most of it so far.