The Yankees sit at 17-8, a full game behind the American League East leading Tampa Bay Rays. While the Yankees are home against Baltimore for the next couple games, then have a short road trip to Boston for three games and four at Detroit, Tampa is embarking on a nine-game West Coast road trip.
If the Yankees play good baseball over the next two weeks, they could vault into first place if the Rays have a usual West coast trip of around .500 baseball.
1) Derek Jeter - He might be on every good list this season. Over the last 14 days, Jeter is hitting .400 (10-for-25) with a slugging percentage of .640 with a double, triple and clutch two-run game-tying home run this past Friday night.
The Captain also has eight RBI in that span. While not a typical rah-rah guy, Jeter is always the first out of the dugout and was clearly happy for Nick Johnson (scroll down a little to the photo) on Sunday when NJ had a big RBI hit.
Jeter keeps the positive attitude on this team running smoothly.
2) Robinson Cano - Robbie is 20-for-48 (.417) over last 14 days, with 12 runs, two doubles, a triple, five homers and 11 RBI. All these numbers are better than almost the entire Houston Astros team.
Cano was voted the American League Player of the Month for April.
3) Brett Gardner - He is surpassing all expectations. Finally he has been given a good shot at being an everyday player. Why did anyone think this kid wasn't going to be able to get it done?
At every level he has played, Brett the Jet initially struggles, then improves the second time through that level. He was not given the full chance last season and this season is actually his second time through.
Over the last week (since he has been playing every day) Gardner has put up a line of .476 BA/.522 OBP/.667 SLG/1.188 OPS. What? Are you kidding? Nope.
4) Nick Swisher - He was hitting coach Kevin Long's major off-season project, and in a conversation I had with Long in January, he predicted Swish would hit .280 or better.
So far, so good. Swish has hit .409 (18-for-44) over the last two weeks with three doubles, a triple and three homers. He has a slugging percentage of .727 during that span.
With the Yankee bullpen needing relief, there is no word whether Swisher will take the mound.
5) CC, AJ, AP, PH - Over the last 14 days, the top four Yankee starting pitchers are a combined 6-1 with a 2.50 ERA, averaging just under eight innings per start. And that includes part of a West Coast road trip, too, which is where that loss (Sabathia) came from.
6) Bench - Francisco Cervelli, Marcus Thames, Randy Winn and Ramiro Pena all have contributed, and when each has been moved into a starting role, they have all come up with big hits, included Winn's three-run homer last night.
As long as Thames stays mostly at DH, he will be OK. Cervelli and Pena provide good defense and speed on the bases. Don't laugh, Cervelli is very quick.
7) Mark Teixeira - Ok, he hasn't been great over the last 14 days, but over the last week, Tex has sent a message to the rest of the American League.
I am back—almost.
He has hit for a line of .333 BA/.407 OBP/.417 SLG and while is not all the way back, Yankee fans are pleased the calender has turned its page.
8) Alfredo Aceves - He has quietly become the same pitcher he was last season—middle inning shutdown support. Six and a third innings these past two weeks with a 1-0 record, zero runs and a WHIP below 1.000.
1) Alex Rodriguez - No walks over the last two weeks. What? Oh, right, the red-hot Cano is hitting behind the struggling Alex. Remember that happened a few years ago when Hideki Matsui was hot in the No. 5 hole and Alex got all the pitches he wanted to pop up to the infield.
Alex's only two RBI this past week were the result of sacrifice flies, and while I am glad he is getting the runs across from third with less than two outs, I would once in a while like to have a bomb launched for a big inning.
2) Jorge Posada - First the hitting. Bad over the last two weeks. Mired in a long slump, he still made my April All Star team . But Posada has just hit .185 BA/.241 OBP/.444 SLG/.686 OPS.
Second, the injuries. Contusion from being hit by a pitch then a strained calf. Maybe all this rest early on will help the 38-year-old stay fresh the entire season where he can have a monster October.
3) LH Relievers - I do not like either Damaso Marte or Boone Logan, and have no confidence when they enter games. Combined this past week, they have made seven appearances (3.2 IP), allowing seven base runners, four earned runs for an ERA of 10.00.
Lucky for them David Robertson was worse and got the loss in both games the lefties appeared in and let get away.
1) Nick Johnson - He has finally started to swing the bat to get hits, and unbelievably, he has gotten a couple of them. What a concept!
It is OK to take pitches as long as they are out of the zone or good pitchers' pitches, but only when NJ stops taking pitches down the middle will he even begin to get a ticket out of the UGLY category.
2) David Robertson - I like David as a pitcher but he is going through a small slump. Unlike some people who recommend not giving him another chance for awhile in a tight spot, I believe only giving him more work will get him into a good groove.
He needs it, as his ERA of 12.71 is very unsightly.
3) Curtis Granderson - Back to his old ways of striking out and not hitting lefties, then he gets hurt and causes roster changes and reports of the Yankees age and eventual demise because of all their injuries.
4) Anybody else? Hmmm. Let me think. Oh, yeah. That guy .
I know Javy Vazquez is being pushed back from his scheduled Boston start, but all the calls for him to be traded to the National League because he is not an American League pitcher is insane.
Coming into 2010, Vazquez had a worse record in the National League, with a career NL ERA of about a half run less. It is not like his split is 80/20.
And even if an NL team wants him, what do you think the Yankees will get for him? A Double-A semi-prospect?
Let him make another 5-7 starts at a minimum before any changes are made. Jeez. It is just five starts.
Anyway, if he continues to stink, put him in the pen to sit, bring up a kid from the minors and allow for some system development.
And then take the draft picks next season when a NL team signs him.