If there has been one thing that has plagued the New York Yankees the past few years, it has been their slow starts to the season. The Yanks then have to finish the season strong to be in contention.
However, 2010 is starting off great for the reigning World Series Champions.
The Yankees are 7-3 entering Saturday's afternoon game against the visiting Texas Rangers. The Yankees are a half-game in front of Tampa Bay and Toronto, and two-and-a-half games ahead of the Red Sox.
It was important for the Yankees to get off to a fast start for a few reasons.
First off, with the Rays looking to make some noise again in the division, the Yankees have to try and separate themselves so the young Rays will have to climb their way back later in the season.
Also, additions such as Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, and Javier Vazquez looked to start off hot to avoid becoming unpopular with the New York fans (So far, Vazquez hasn't helped himself much).
For the most part, the team is really playing well. The starting pitching has been terrific, minus the struggles of Javier Vazquez, and the bullpen has played well enough bridging to Mariano Rivera.
Vazquez returned to the Yankees this season after a disappointing first stint in New York in 2004. In his first two starts, Vazquez has allowed 14 hits in 11 innings with 12 earned runs. With that said, he has started the season 0-2.
The offense has also been extremely efficient.
Robinson Cano has found a new home in the five hole in the lineup. He has a team leading four home runs, nine RBI, and a .390 batting average.
Curtis Granderson has also played well, both in the field and at the plate. He has two home runs and four stolen bases.
The captain, Derek Jeter, is also having another great start to a season. He is hitting .348 with two home runs and seven RBI.
However, the one player that may be the x-factor in this offense is Brett Gardner. The Yankees decided against signing Johnny Damon in the offseason, so it is up to Gardner to perform.
So far, Gardner has played well enough. He has a .333 on-base percentage and four stolen bases. While his batting average (.217) is not impressive, but the most important part of his game is getting on base no matter what and stealing bases.
Surprisingly, the two struggling hitters are Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Both are still without a home run to begin the season, and Teixeira is batting a miserable .083.
The Yankees have won each of their first three series, splitting each series two games to one.
If they can keep up their solid hitting and pitching, once Vazquez, Teixeira, and Rodriguez rebound from their slow starts, this could be a very dangerous team.