Who’s the hottest team in MLB right now?
The answer is the New York Yankees.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is a Yankee-hater, because you either bleed pinstripes or you burn them. It is that simple.
Looking back to just 7 days ago, things were not going so well for New York who finished 2-8 on a road trip from hell. The nickname “Bombers” was starting to refer to bombing games, instead of balls out of the park.
Lots of factors come into play regarding the Yankees resurgence of winning four of their last five games.
The first two wins were in Baltimore, but it was followed by a loss last Sunday allowing the O’s to avoid another sweep.
Heading into the toughest, most critical series of the season, a four game set against the Tampa Bay Rays, Yankee fans would finally get some answers.
Nick Swisher put it in plain and simple, "I think we all pretty much know what's at stake," Swisher said. "Take the Rays and us and line us up, and let's see what happens.”
What has happened is the Yankees have played all around great baseball. Not just winning, but beating the Tampa Bay Rays.
It seems the surreal dedication and tribute to the late, great George Steinbrenner before Monday’s game definitely reminded the Yankees and its fans what would be the biggest way to honor their beloved Boss. Win, win and keep winning until #28 is a thing of the past.
Also, major credit also goes to Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman.
GM Cashman and Skipper Girardi’s pick-up of RP Kerry Wood has completely changed around the bullpen, both Wood the individual and as a mentor to Joba Chamberlain.
Everyone knows Joba hasn’t had the easiest time out of the bullpen, understandably with what the 24-year old has been through.
This is a place Wood has been, the new hero to struggling middle reliever who used to have potential. Since joining the Yankees, Woods’ arm is back to his former days, finally getting recognition as a reliever because he realizes how much he was needed.
Wood has pitched 23 innings as a Yankees, striking-out 26 batters, with one home-run, one earned run hit against him and a ridiculous .39 ERA. Batters have a .167 average when Woods is on the mound.
Joba looked like Wood’s been rubbing off on him, proof was just last night. In the eighth inning Joba took the mound, loaded the bases but worked his way out of it by fanning the next two batters to close the inning for Mariano.
In his last 24 appearances dating to July 28, Chamberlain has posted a 1.50 ERA, allowing four runs in 24 innings.
Fact is the bullpen is the core of any team in baseball. If you have a solid group in the middle of games to eat innings and win is the most undervalued, virtually going unnoticed a lot of the time.
Cashman did his job grabbing Wood and this is in the top three reasons as to why the Yankees have a chance to repeat in 2010.
The line-up Girardi used in Tuesday night’s win against the Rays is by far the strongest.
Three major positives factors, starting with Jeter at the top who is finally leading-off like the Captain again, which is a huge sigh of relief in New York. Swisher is on fire again, since coming back after receiving cortisone shot for his knee. Granderson is making-up for lost time smacking in two homers in the first win against the Rays.
The rest of the line-up all hit, getting base runners home and when the Yankees click like this it will be challenging for any team to defeat them.