Since the beginning of the season, the Red Sox and the Yankees have been vying for the first place position of their division. Despite their fight for first, both teams will most likely enter the playoffs, as the Yankees have a clear lead in the Wild Card race.
Because the New York Yankees have encountered many struggles this season in regards to injuries and players unable to perform up to par, they have had difficulty remaining first in the standings.
Although the offense has shown a significant amount of improvement for the month of August, the Yankees need to make crucial changes to ensure that they beat the Red Sox during the playoffs.
Here are five things that need to change for the Yankees to beat their rivals in October.
Throughout the season, the New York Yankees bullpen has been plagued with multiple injuries.
Between Rafael Soriano missing a majority of the 2011 season because of shoulder inflammation and Joba Chamberlain undergoing season ending Tommy John surgery, the Yankees weren't so lucky in regards to their bullpen.
Have you noticed a pattern with each of these pitchers? That's right, they are all right-handed.
At the moment, the Yankees only have one left-handed reliever, Boone Logan (2.67). Although Logan has shown promise this season, he needs help, especially with the playoffs just around the corner.
The best answer to their solution would be to bring back left-handed relievers Pedro Feliciano and Damaso Marte, who have both been on the DL since before the start of the 2011 season. With three left-handed pitchers in the bullpen who are each strong and healthy, the Yankees will be unstoppable during the playoffs.
Both pitchers have pitched during a rehab game in Tampa against the GCL Tigers. Feliciano allowed no hits and struck out one hitter in one inning. Unfortunately, Marte did not pitch as well. In two-thirds of an inning, he allowed six hits, six runs, no walks and no strikeouts.
Of course, it is understandable for Marte to not pitch well his first time out, especially since the last time he pitched was over a year ago. However, with both of these pitchers back in our bullpen, it will be a change securing our victory against the Red Sox in October.
A part of the legendary core four, Jorge Posada has contributed greatly to the Yankees over the years. Unfortunately for him and the Yankees, Posada has had his worst performance as a hitter, hitting under .200 for a majority of the season.
There could have been many factors to his downfall. After all, the rough season he had could have taken a toll on anyone. Being replaced as a catcher and forced to contribute only as a DH definitely put a strain on Posada in the beginning of the season. Also, getting moved to the ninth position in the lineup then eventually getting benched, only made matters worse for the DH. Posada was causing more harm to his team than good. All of the actions the Yankees took in regards to benching Posada was for the good of the team.
Surprisingly, Posada has turned his performance around, hitting .327 in 49 bats for the month of August. Can this performance make up for a season of poor hitting? I don't think so. Although he is doing well at the moment, how do we know that he will not return to hitting below a .200? With playoffs on the way it is better for us to not take any chances.
Their best bet is to finally call up their number one hitting prospect, Jesus Montero. His .289 batting average can definitely help us beat the Boston Red Sox in October. Having Montero start off as a DH will help him adjust better to the major leagues and join the Yankees in the lineup next season. Having him join the lineup now will make him prepared and ready to be the outstanding hitter we have all anticipated him to be.
Unfortunately, if Montero is called up that means there is a chance Posada will not be a part of the lineup for the postseason. Despite what confrontation that may cause between fans and the media, the Yankees need to ultimately do what is best for their team.
Without a doubt, CC Sabathia is the New York Yankees' most reliable, dominant and consistently solid pitcher in the starting rotation.
When the Yankees have difficulty challenging a team, fans always rely on Sabathia to bring the Yankees to victory.
Unfortunately, Sabathia has suffered from lack of a difficult feat this season that he has been unable to conquer. That is winning a game against the Boston Red Sox.
The starting pitcher, who once pitched a 3.03 ERA against the Sox going 4-1, is now pitching a 7.20 ERA going 0-4 against Boston.
In his last game against the Sox on August 6th, Sabathia allowed seven earned runs in six innings, causing the Yankees to lose 4-10 against their rivals. Of course, the offense could have contributed more and Sabathia is allowed to pitch poorly once in a while. However, going 0-4 against one team in one season seems more like a pattern than a coincidence.
Sabathia is their number one go to pitcher and if he cannot become victorious against the Boston Red Sox than honestly, who can? For us to have any chance of beating the Red Sox in October we cannot solely rely on our offense and bullpen, we need CC Sabathia to pitch the way he does every victorious game.
For us to beat the Sox, Sabathia needs to step it up against them.
The day that Mark Teixeira signed with the Yankees, everyone expected them to prosper even greater as a team, which they did. Teixeira was signed weeks after pitching ace CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett (when he played well). Also, the fact that the Yankees attained Teixeira after Boston wanted him badly was an added bonus.
Over his three years with the Yankees he has contributed greatly. In his first year with the Bombers, he maintained a .292 batting average with 178 hits and 43 doubles. He even had the most home runs in the MLB.
However, he has been unable to return to the caliber of his 2009 season. In the 2009 and 2010 postseason, the first baseman posted a lousy .170 batting average with only three home runs and 11 RBI. His stats have only declined from there. He posted a .256 batting average in 2010 and a .244 so far this season.
With his declining stats and unsuccessful postseason performances, moving Teixeira down in the lineup would be an ideal change during the playoffs.
Moving Teixeira down to the fifth hitter and having Robinson Cano take over Teixeira's position as their third hitter can help us beat Boston in October. The third hitter in the lineup should be the all-around best hitter, as fifth should be a hitter who can produce many RBI. At the moment Cano is hitting a .304 with 22 home runs and 93 RBI, an ideal candidate for this position. Teixeira is batting a .244 with 99 RBI, also a fine candidate for the fifth position in the lineup.
Robinson Cano has constantly performed great and finally deserves to be moved up in the lineup. This change could be crucial to the Yankee offense.
At the moment, the New York Yankees have a six-man rotation. Joe Girardi must make a decision to decide which pitcher will return to the bullpen. My vote is for the unreliable AJ Burnett.
Honestly, I do not want him on the Yankees, let alone serve as a reliever. However, with a $87.5 million five year contract, Burnett is not going anywhere anytime soon and he must serve some purpose to our team other than pitching us to consecutive losses.
Let's look at his recent games and statistics:
Burnett maintains a 5.31 ERA at the moment. In 161 innings pitched he has allowed 160 hits, 101 runs and 25 home runs. For the month of August, Burnett has only declined, posting a 9.98 ERA. With an ERA that high so close to the playoffs, why would anyone put him in their starting rotation?
Burnett delivered the second worst performance of his career on August 20th when he pitched in only 1 2/3 innings allowing seven runs on five hits and three walks. His poor pitching only continued from there. In his most recent outing against the Baltimore Orioles, Burnett allowed nine hits and nine runs in only five innings.
AJ Burnett has lost his power, dominance and has time and time again let his team and fans down. Having him in the rotation is too much of a risk that we just cannot afford to take.
This change can ensure a win against Boston in October.