Saturday, June 6, 2009

May Report Cards Are In

Making the Grade - May

The second marking period has come to a close and it was a heck of a lot better than the first one. An 18-11 record, included a 9-game winning streak, and put the Yankees in sole possession of first place for the first time since the 2006 season.

Player of the Month

Mark Teixeira - As bad as his April was, that’s how good Mark Teixeira’s May was. He led all of baseball with 13 home runs and 34 RBI. His split were tremendous - .330/.413/.748. His defensive play at first base was a major reason the Yankees broke the record for consecutive scoreless games. Johnny Damon gets an honorable mention for carrying the team for the first half of the month.

3-run HR, game tying single in 11 inning win vs. Twins
2 HR, 4 RBI in 7-6 win vs. Twins
13-game hitting streak
Home run, 4 RBI in 5-4 loss at Indians
Game Tying 3-run double in extra loss vs. Rays

Worst Player of the Month

Nick Swisher was the polar opposite of Teixeira. He won the coveted SarverPlayer of the Month” award for April only to fall into a dismal May slump that had many praying Xavier Nady would soon return. Swisher hit just .150 in May with 29 strikeouts in 80 at-bats, and a paltry .586 OPS. He didn’t lose his spirit though.

Pitcher of the Month

CC Sabathia - Sabathia was everything in May that the Yankees hoped for when they signed him this past off-season. He went 4-1, 2.56 in 6 starts, limiting opposing hitters to a .204 batting average. He allowed just 34 hits, walked 10, and struck 37 in 45.2 innings pitched.

CG Shutout at O’s
8 IP, 5 H 2 ER in win at Blue Jays
7 IP, 3 H 1 ER in win vs. O’s

Worst Pitcher of the Month

How much longer will the Yankees continue to hope that Jose Veras turns things around? He’s been nothing short of putrid. His mild success last season has to be the only reason the Yankees keep him on the roster this season. He was fortunate to pick up 2 wins in May, but allowed 9 earned runs in 9.2 IP (8.38 ERA) and walked 8 batters. Veras needs to return to the minors.

Biggest Win of the Month

I can’t go with just one win for May - I have to go with three of them. The three walk off wins against the Minnesota Twins, May 15-17. Honorable Mention to the first game of the month when the Yankees rallied in the last two innings from a 9-4 deficit to beat the Angels in the bottom of the 9th.

May 15

The Yankees had just concluded a 4-2 road trip with two straight wins in Toronto. It put them a game over .500 with the Twins in town. The Yankees trailed game 1, 4-1 in the 7th inning. Brett Gardner, who had replaced the ejected Johnny Damon, cut the lead in half with an inside-the-park-home run. Gardner led off the bottom of the 9th with a stand up triple against closer Joe Nathan and scored the Yankees third run on Mark Teixeira’s RBI single. Nathan walked Alex Rodriguez, but struck out Hideki Matsui and retired Nick Swisher on a ground out. With runners on second and third and two outs, the Twins elected to walk Robinson Cano and pitch to Melky Cabrera. The Melkman made them pay with a game winning 2-run single.

May 16

Teixeira’s RBI single in the 8th inning tied the game at 4-apiece. Mariano Rivera escaped a 2-on, no out jam in the 10th to set things up for 11th inning heroics. A-Rod’s first hit in the new Stadium was a loud one. He followed Teixeira’s lead off walk with a long home run to left off Craig Breslow for a 6-4 Yankees win.

May 17

A.J. Burnett and Kevin Slowey were locked in a scoreless pitcher’s duel when the Twins put two on the board in the top of the 7th inning. The Yankees answered right back in their half of the inning on an A-Rod home run and a Melky Cabrera sac fly to tie the game at 2-2. The Yankees stranded two runners in the 7th, another in the 8th, and Gardner was cut down at home plate by Joe Mauer when he tried to score all the way from second base on an infield hit. Al Aceves picked up the win in game 2 and was the winner again when Johnny Damon hit a 1-out pitch from Jesse Crain into the right field seats for a 3-2 Yankees triumph.

Worst Loss of the Month

May 7 vs. Tampa Bay - The Yankees had lost four in a row, all at home, and were playing the finale of a brief 2-game series with the reigning AL champion Rays. With the game tied 6-6 in the 9th, Mariano Rivera surrendered home runs to Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria for an 8-6 loss. The defeat ended the homestand with a 5-game slide, showed Rivera’s vulnerability, and kept them 4.5 games behind the first place Blue Jays.

Most Devastating Injury

The worst injury May is the same injury that occurred in April. Brian Bruney appeared in just one game in May before continued elbow pain put him back on the DL and left a hole in the Yankees late inning bullpen scenario.

Clutch Performer

Team Defense - Pitching and defense wins championships. The Yankees tied the Major League Record for consecutive errorless games (17) and then broke the record as the calendar turned to June.

Most Dramatic Moment
After missing the first 28 games of the season, Alex Rodriguez homers on the very first pitch of his season off Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie.

Report Card

CC Sabathia A+
Mark Teixeira A+
Al Aceves A

Melky Cabrera A
Johnny Damon A

Derek Jeter A

Mariano Rivera B+
Francisco Cervelli B
Brett Gardner B
David Robertson B
Robinson Cano B-
Alex Rodriguez B-
A.J. Burnett C
Phil Coke C
Andy Pettitte C
Ramiro Pena C
Brett Tomko C

Joba Chamberlain C-
Phil Hughes C-
Hideki Matsui C-

Kevin Cash D
Jonathan Albaladejo D
Edwar Ramirez D

Nick Swisher F
Jose Veras F
Angel Berroa F


Brian Bruney
Damaso Marte
Jose Molina
Jorge Posada
Chien-Ming Wang

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