Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Yankees 1st Report Card

Did this for Baseball Digest.

Making the Grade - April

I’ve named this segment after one of the best “worst” movies of all time. Check it out some time if you can find it.

It’s time to review how the Yankees did in their first marking period, better known as the month of April. It was an up and down month, but a 3-game winning streak enabled the Yankees to finish above .500 at 12-10. That left them two games behind the first place Red Sox and Blue Jays entering May.

Player of the Month

Nick Swisher

Nick Swisher

No question, Robinson Cano’s numbers - 17 game hitting streak, .366-5-16, 18 runs - were tremendous, but without Nick Swisher the Yankees wouldn’t have finished the month with a positive record. Swisher filled the void left first by Alex Rodriguez, and then by fellow outfielder Xavier Nady. He led the team in home runs (7), RBI (19), runs scored (21), and OPS (1.144).

3 Hits, 5 RBI in first win of season, 11-2 at Orioles
3 RBI, 3 runs in 6-1 win at Royals
1 RBI, 3 runs in 11-0 win at Tigers
2 HR, 4 RBI in 8-6 win at Tigers
MLB Player of the Week Award

Worst Player of the Month

With Alex Rodriguez out, not much was expected of Cody Ransom, but the Yankees got even less before a torn quad shut Ransom down for the next several months. He hit just .180 in April and that was after going 6-20 (.300) in the last 6 games. Ransom’s OPS was a mere .546 and he drove in just 6 runs, 3 of them in one game. His defensive game let the Yankees down too (.946 Fielding PCT).

Pitcher of the Month



It may seem odd for a pitcher with a 5.40 ERA, but A.J. Burnett won the award hands down. Burnett’s ERA, of course, is warped because of the smackdown he took in Boston (5 IP 8 ER). He stopped a pair of 2-game losing streaks and threw 111 pitches in a no-decision (the Yankees eventually won) against the Indians to rest the Yankees beleaguered bullpen.

2-0, 5.40 Yankees are 4-1 in games Burnett starts
8 IP 3 H 2 ER 9 K in 7-2 win at Rays
5.1 IP 2 ER 6 K in 11-2 win at Orioles

Worst Pitcher of the Month

34.50. That’s all you need to know. Chien-Ming Wang.

Biggest Win of the Month

April 15 at Tampa Bay - The Yankees were in the finale of the opening 9-game road trip and were clinging to a .500 (4-4) record. Andy Pettitte pitched a great game, but the Yankees trailed the Rays 3-2 after seven innings. Back to back doubles by Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon to start the eighth tied the game at 3-3. Then in the top of the 9th, Cody Ransom reached on a one out double, and two batters later, Jeter came through again with the game winning single.

Worst Loss of the Month

Some fans will think it was the 22-4 opening day humiliation or the 16-11 Saturday loss to Boston that started as a 6-0 Yankees’ lead. Clearly though, the Friday night game (April 24) in Boston takes the cake. A bitter cake.

The Yankees led 4-2 in the ninth with Mariano Rivera on to close things out, but Jason Bay smacked a game tying 2-out, 2-run home run. Kevin Youkilis homered off Damaso Marte in the 11th inning for a Boston victory that set the tone for the rest of the weekend series. It also again showed that Rivera is very mortal when facing the Red Sox.

Most Devastating Injury

A-Rod’s hip issues occurred in Spring Training, so he doesn’t qualify. (sorry Selena Roberts, I know you were counting on it.) Xavier Nady’s elbow strain hurt the offense, but Swisher picked up much of the slack. Without a doubt, the key injury was to Brian Bruney, the lone effective set up man to Mariano Rivera. Bruney recorded a pair of wins and had four Holds.

Clutch Performer

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter

The Captain, Derek Jeter, got this one. His 9th inning home run against the Rays on April 14 busted the game open in a 7-2 win. The next night Jeter singled in the game winning run in the 9th inning, which enabled the Yankees to take 2 of 3 from Tampa Bay. Two nights after that, he gave the Yankees their 3rd win in 4 games with an eighth inning, game winning home run against the Cleveland Indians.

Report Card

Robinson Cano A+
Nick Swisher A
Brian Bruney A
Johnny Damon A-

Mariano Rivera B+ (that Boston game took a serious hit on his grade)
Derek Jeter B+
A.J. Burnett B+
Jorge Posada B
Jose Molina B
Andy Pettitte B
Melky Cabrera B
Ramiro Pena B
Joba Chamberlain B-

Hideki Matsui C+
Jonathan Albaladejo C
Phil Coke C
CC Sabathia C
David Robertson C

Mark Teixeira D (Walks and Defense saved him a little)
Brett Gardner D (Steals and Defense kept this, barely, from an F)
Edwar Ramirez D

Cody Ransom F
Damaso Marte F
Jose Veras F
Chien-Ming Wang F
Angel Berroa F (was only 4 games, but it showed plenty)

Xavier Nady
Anthony Claggett
Mark Melancon
Phil Hughes

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