Monday, May 01, 2006

One Month

It's May 1st. We're 13-10, tied for 1st in the American League Eastern Division. But why are we here?

All performance in baseball really boils down to two things: the ability to score runs and the ability to prevent the other team from scoring runs. We've been excellent at both.

Our team ERA is sitting pretty at 3.65, good for second in the American league. Our pitchers have allowed just 16 home runs, best in the MLB. They have walked just 61, 3rd in the AL. Our pitchers boast a phenominal OB% against of .308. They have also prevented opposing batters from hitting for power, holding them to a .360 Slg%, 2nd best in the American league.

Our bullpen has been one of baseball's best. The group has pitched 53 innings out of the bullpen, allowing only 18 earned runs, to the tune of a 3.05 ERA. Impressively, the bullpen has just three losses all year, one of which came during game 2 (Torre puts the jet-lagged Proctor into a tie game in the 9th). The other two came from bad Mariano Rivera outings - something that can be attributed to lack of work for the ace reliever.

Fielding? Well, Jorge Posada and Kelly Stinnet have done an excellent job, throwing out 8 runners while allowing only 9 to steal, good for second in the American League (to Oakland). Team defense was a huge problem last year, but this year we've improved to the middle of the pack with a .7150 DER (71.% of our balls in play are converted to outs). Yankee fielders have committed just 9 errors, second best in the league.

Hitting? The Yankees have scored 6.26 runs per game, good for 2nd in the American League. Thanks to Derek Jeter and Jason Giambi, we post a league-high .395 on base percentage. Thanks to those two plus Gary Sheffield and Robinson Cano, we are batting .299, third in the league. Even better, we are slugging as a team .495, 1st in the league. Yankee hitters have been especially patient, seeing 3.95 pitchers per plate appearance.

All of this despite:

  • Bernie Williams hitting .217/.262/.283 in 64 trips to the plate.
  • Andy Phillips hitting .154/.214/.269 in 28 trips.
  • Hideki Matsui and Alex Rodriguez starting the season with early slumps
  • Tanyon Sturtze blowing every big appearance he had to the tune of a 5.40 ERA in 8.1 innings.
  • Randy Johnson struggling in two starts against the Blue Jays, raising his ERA to 4.71
  • Jaret Wright making two starts, going a combined 8 innings and giving up 7 earned runs.
  • Octavio Dotel, Aaron Small and Carl Pavano on the DL
I predicted 102 wins on another site at the begining of the year, that looks to hold up right now. Considering Boston and Toronto's problems, this should be a pretty easy year for the Yankees. If they could just solve the DH/Backup 1b and OF problem, and get rid of some dead weight (Tanyon Sturtze, Jaret Wright), they could be golden.

#27? I sure hope so.