This is the latest installment of the 2010 New York Yankee progress, honoring the epic Clint Eastwood movie of the same name. According to the astute readers of imdb.com, the Baseball-Reference of the movie and T.V. industry, "Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo " is ranked as the No. 4 movie of all time .
What is more important is that the Yankees have vaulted themselves into the No. 1 record in the major leagues. With Sunday's 9-5 win over the Houston Astros, combined with Tampa Bay's 6-1 loss to the Florida Marlins, the Yankees and Rays are tied atop of the AL East with identical 40-23 records , the best record in MLB.
All numbers are from the last 14 days, unless noted.
No. 1 Robinson Cano —has slashed .395 BA/.469 OBP/.605 SLG/1.074 OPS, with three doubles, two homers, seven RBI and 13 runs scored. Even more impressive are his numbers over the last month at .443/.476/.660/1.136.
During one stretch of his recent 17 game hitting streak, Cano had multiple hits in eight straight (19-33, 3 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBI).
Simply ridiculous, and at the top of the leaderboards for American League MVP.
No. 2 Brett Gardner —How can you not love Brett the Jet? After a mini-slump which brought his numbers down considerably, Gardner began to hit again (and walk), by slashing .455/.552/.773/1.324 over the last week. Included were a double, triple, and his third home run.
Until Sunday, that homer tied him for the New York city left field lead with the New York Mets Jason Bay, he of the $66 million contract. Bay hit his fourth home run Sunday, but Gardner still leads the very wealthy Bay in OPS (.822 vs. .806).
No. 3 Derek Jeter —Do you really think he was going to stay on the bad list forever? After going through a long funk at the plate and in the field, which prompted the annual "Is Derek Jeter Done?" articles, Jeter has ripped a .333/.391/.514/.906 line over the last month.
While many do not like it when Jeter goes after the first pitch, he is hitting .404 with a .908 OPS when hacking at the first offering. The key is swinging at good strikes.
No. 4 Curtis Granderson —While Granderson's overall numbers since returning from the disabled list are not great, the team has picked up its pace since Curtis returned to the lineup and his position in center.
That is because we saw less of Randy Winn (before being released), Marcus Thames and rookie Kevin Russo.
The Yankees are 12-4 since his return, but were only 7-11 in the last 18 games he was out of the lineup.
I would still like Granderson to sit back more when he swings, as he is often out in front on the right leg during swings and misses.
No. 5 Nick Swisher —He is turning in to one of my favorite Yankee players. I was not a fan of the trade which brought him here, but he has done very well, and has been instrumental in the lengthening of the 2009 and 2010 lineups. Has hit a very consistent .308/.402/.495/896 with 19 runs, eight doubles, three homers and 16 RBI over last month.
No. 6 CC Sabathia —What? He is struggling, right? Well, he is 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in his two June starts. A 6-3 record thus far should be 8-3, but CC lost a win at Boston because of a rain delay and another when Joe Girardi pulled CC early against the Sawx and the bullpen blew the game.
This is a durable pitcher who should be allowed to throw 125-135 pitches each start.
No. 7 Andy Pettitte —Happy Birthday to Pettitte, who turns 38 today. Imagine on Thursday when Pettitte faces Jamie Moyer, who is seven years older than Andy?
Age is no factor for Pettitte, who is still dominating lineups by changing speeds and hitting corners. Again, why do scouts always worry about velocity and arm strength when a guy who does not top 90 MPH can consistently get guys out?
No. 8 Yankee bullpen —Over the last two weeks, the main part of the bullpen, Mariano Rivera, Joba, D-Rob, Chan Ho Park and Damaso Marte have been outstanding. They have thrown 21 innings, allowing 12 hits, five walks, and struck out 23. That is a WHIP of .809 and the one earned run allowed leads to a miniscule 0.43 ERA.
No. 9 Javier Vazquez —He is 4-1, 3.03 ERA over the last month with a 0.918 WHIP. While he has allowed five home runs, Javy has only walked five over his last 33 innings. He has been the most consistent starter this side of Pettitte.
He is similar to Andy by changing speeds and hitting that outside corner to RH hitters with his curve ball being the key to his success.
No. 1 Francisco Cervelli— Wow! He has come back down to earth faster than the Space Shuttle. Over the last month, the Cisco Kid has hit under .200 with an OPS of .522. He still dos come through with key RBI singles.
His 13 hits (all singles) over the last month have produced 12 RBI. He is still a force on defense and calls a great game.
I love the way he watches the batter before he puts down the sign. Concentrate on Cervelli during a couple at bats tonight and you will see what I mean.
No. 2 Alex Rodriguez —it has nothing to do with his lack of power, because he is still hitting the ball hard. But his injury could be more severe than a few missing days. Any long term time missed could hurt the Yankees lineup at a time when it was finally complete. (I do not count Nick Johnson).
No. 3 Jorge Posada —Two swings doesn't make a season. Posada was brutal before his two grand slam weekend, but he also swung the bat better in other at bats during the Houston Series.
Posada gets into a taking pitches groove once in a while, taking good hitting strikes. This leads to indecisiveness and too much thinking at the plate.
When Posada is aggressive and still taking his walks by not swinging at balls outside the zone, he is a much better hitter.
Stay aggressive and hit good pitches, Jorge!
No. 1 AJ Burnett —An 0-2 record with 7.11 ERA in June with four home runs allowed in two games. Combine that with five walks and 14 hits in 12.2 innings pitched, and you have a recipe for disaster.
Bad AJ go home, but tell your twin brother, good AJ, to come back out and play.
No. 2 Marcus Thames —basically it is the entire bench which stinks, but since I think Thames never should have made the team in the first place, he is my poster boy.
Thames is 2 for his last 22 with eight strikes out and an OPS of .322. By the time his injury heals, I hope Chad Huffman (or Jorge Vazquez from Triple A) takes his roster spot - for good.
Combine Thames with Ramiro Pena, Kevin Russo and Chad Moeller, and the bench is 14 for 81 with four doubles and six RBI over the last month.
That is why Alex needs to be back in the lineup soon.
No. 3 Chad Gaudin —There is no conceivable reason why Gaudin actually pitches in games or is on the roster. He stinks!
Having been released twice already this season, once by the Yankees should only reiterate how bad this guy is.
There is no reason why Gaudin should have been in the June 5th game in the bottom of the 13th in a tie game at Toronto. It only took nine pitches before the Yankees were walking off the field.
That 13th inning rundown: Batter One - leadoff walk on FOUR pitches. Batter two - sac bunt on second pitch. Batter three - game winning single on an 0-2 count!
No way the Yankees should lose on the road to a division rival without using your best relief pitcher, Mariano Rivera.
Get rid of this loser, Gaudin, and bring up Mark Melancon for good.