With a season that started with questions of the pitching staff, the Yankees have now started to play Yankee ball. Unquestionably the biggest question facing the Yankees at the beginning of the season was how were the "Big Three" going to perform in their first full seasons.
Well so far for Phil Hughes it has not been good. In 6 starts this season he has an 0-4 record and an 9.00 ERA. Not only has he faced problems with his pitching he is currently on the 15-day DL with a fractured rib. He has struggled with recording strikeouts this season only having 13 in 22 innings pitched. But more important in my mind is that he has the same amount of walks as strikeouts. So Phil appears to be struggling with pitch location, which in case you do not know is one of the most important things for a pitcher to have.
Now for Ian Kennedy it is a similar story. He has played in 6 games with 5 starts and has a record of 0-2 with an ERA of 8.37. Ian has only 16 strikeouts in 23 and two/thirds innings, but has 20 walks. Recently he was asked about his performance so far and he felt like he was making progress with every game, but still experiencing problems with his location. However the Yankees sent him back down to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on May 4th.
Joba Chamberlain has experienced the most success of the three youngsters. This season he has pitched 12 and 1/3 innings of relief, recording 14 strikeouts, 9 hits, 2 earned runs for an ERA of 1.46, and a 1-1 record. He has showed a large amount of progress now having a four pitch repertoire, and his dominance has provoked the "New Steinbrenner" Hank, to rethink Joba's place in the bullpen, and call to put him in to fix the struggling rotation.
Now looking at the current situation of their line-up, being without both A-Rod and Posada who are out for some time, it took a while for the rest of the team to get started in the runs column. But now with a three game winning streak they have certain players who are beginning to to contribute. Robinson Cano has been in a terrible rut starting the season with a .154 AVG on 18 hits in 117 at-bats. However in he has 4 home runs which have come in his last 7 games. Hideki Matsui is now pulling his weight with a team leading .324 AVG so far this season, and has a 14 game hitting streak coming into tonight's game against the Indians. Melky Cabrera has also made an impact. He is leading the team in home runs with 6 including a lead extending blast in the game against the Mariners on Sunday. Melky also possesses a dangerous arm out in center field which was clear after throwing out 26 people last season. Notable contributions which are appreciated are those from Abreu who leads the team in RBI's and Derek Jeter who has had a couple multi-hit games in the past week.
Back to the current Yankees. On a three game win streak they have received good outings from three pitchers. Chein-Mieng Wang, all there is to say is 6-0 and 3.00 ERA including a 2-hit full game against the "Champs" Red Sux. Mike Mussina has won three in a row I believe. Finally Darell Rasner who gave them a solid start. Yes I am fully aware that you cannot call somebody amazing after 1 game (see Johnny Cuento). However he gave the Yankees a good performance going 6 innings, 5 hits for 2 earned runs.
In conclusion, I am happy to see the Yankees starting to play ball for the following reasons:
1). The line-up is starting to produce runs from almost everyone.
2). The pitching staff is improving and now they look to Pettite to give them a solid start.
3). They are playing without the reigning AL MVP, and an All-Star catcher, who when they get back will probably make a significant impact.
The Bad thing is they waited a month to start playing Yankee ball which hopefully will not come back to hurt them.