New York Yankees: First-Half Review

-- See Pinstripe Alley for complete Yankees discussion and analysis -- See Baseball Nation for complete Major League coverage

We have arrived at the Major League Baseball All-Star break, traditionally considered the halfway point of the season. So, let's take a midseason look at the New York Yankees 88 games into the 2011 season. Without doubt, there have been ups, downs, surprises and disappointments. Let's look at them.

Checking The Standings

The Yankees are, basically, about where they were expected to be when the season began. Everyone on the planet, at least outside the Yankee organization, expected the Boston Red Sox to win the American League East and the Yankees to end up as the American League wild-card team. If the season ended today, that is exactly what would happen.

The Yankees are an impressive 53-35 (.602), a game behind Boston and five games in front of Tampa Bay in the wild-card standings. That .602 winning percentage is third-best in baseball behind Philadelphia (.626) and Boston (.611).

The Yankees are old. They have plenty of aches and pains. They are, however, still pretty darn good.


AL East Standings

W L PCT GB STRK
Boston 55 35 .611 0 Won 6
New York 53 35 .602 1 Won 2
Tampa Bay 49 41 .544 6 Lost 2
Toronto 45 47 .489 11 Won 3
Baltimore 36 52 .409 18 Lost 7

(updated 7.11.2011 at 10:34 AM EDT)


Biggest Surprises

Curtis Granderson: Named as a starting outfielder for the American League All-Star Game, Granderson is having a phenomenal season. With the help of Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, Granderson revamped his swing at the end of last season and the dividends are obvious. Granderson has already hit more home runs than he did a season ago (25 to 24), scored more runs (79 to 76) and has nearly matched his RBI total (63 to 67). The Yankees have needed every bit of the offense the Grandy Man has provided.

Starting Pitching: Andy Pettitte retired. Cliff Lee said 'no, thanks' and went to the Phillies. Phil Hughes stunk and went on the DL with a mysterious shoulder ailment. Yet, the Yankees' starting pitching has been excellent. Bartolo Colon has revived his career, and at times been the team's second-best starter. Freddy Garcia (3.13 ERA) is pitching better than he has in years. A.J. Burnett has been good more often than he has been bad following a disastrous 2010. The Yankee starters have been so good that Ivan Nova (8-4, 4.12 ERA), a perfectly capable big-league starting pitcher, is now back at AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre simply because there is no spot for him.

David Robertson: No Rafael Soriano? No problem. No Joba Chamberlain? Same thing. Pedro Feliciano? Damaso Marte? Who needs any of 'em? The Yankees have Robertson, who has been phenomenal during the first half, has been named to the AL All-Star team, and has positioned himself to be thought of as a future Yankee closer once Mariano Rivera finally retires. Robertson has pitched to a 1.27 ERA and struck out an amazing 56 in 35.1 innings (14.3 per nine innings). He still has the dominant curveball, and at age 26 has found some extra oomph for his fastball, consistently reaching 95 mph.

Biggest Accomplishment

This one is easy. Derek Jeter, as anyone who has not been living around a rock knows, became the first player in franchise history to reach 3,000 hits with Saturday's amazing 5-for-5 performance. Jeter is 27th on the all-time hit list.

Biggest Disappointments

Phil Hughes' First Half: The 25-year-old right-hander went on the disabled list in April after three starts with a 13.94 ERA. The Yankees spent more than two months trying to figure out what was wrong with Hughes' shoulder, then rehab him for a return. Hughes was pedestrian in that return, giving up six hits and two earned runs in five innings. His stuff was mediocre. This version of Hughes looks like a far cry from the guy once known as the Phranchise, and thought to be the guy who would be the ace of the Yankees' staff for the next decade.

Bullpen Injuries: Robertson has been great, and Rivera has been Rivera. With Soriano, Chamberlain, Feliciano and Marte, though, the Yankees have about $21 million worth of 2011 bullpen on the disabled list.

Jorge Posada's Temper Tantrum: The veteran's refusal to play after being dropped to ninth in the batting order by manager Joe Girardi was definitely the lowlight of the season thus far, and a stain on the terrific career of a proud veteran. Posada has been better since, and did hit .382 in June, but his tantrum is still a moment I'm certain he wishes he could take back.

Nicest Story

Brian Gordon got two starts with the Yankees and pitched decently after spending 15 years in the minor leagues, most of that as a power-hitting outfielder. The 32-year-old Gordon went 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA in those two games and is now back at AAA with Scranton-Wilkes Barre. He worked incredibly hard for his big-league cup of coffee, and anyone who is a baseball fan should be happy that he got it.

Biggest Remaining Question Marks

Offense: With Alex Rodriguez out for as many as six weeks, do the Yankees need more offense? Posada has been terrible hitting right-handed (.122), Andruw Jones is hitting just .195, every-day catcher Russell Martin has not been the same since injuring his back. He hit .293 in April, but has hit .200 in May, .185 in June and just .143 so far in July. His overall mark is .220.

Starting Pitching: As good as they have been, can the Yankees depend on Colon and Garcia to keep up their surprising work? Can Hughes give them anything? Can the enigmatic Burnett continue to give the Yankees more good than bad?

Bullpen: Will Soriano return? If he doesn't, do the Yankees need to go out and get some help for Robertson? Oh, and will Rivera's tender forearm turn into a major headache?


Batting

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Eric Chavez 17 33 5 10 2 1 0 6 6 3 0 0 .303 .410 .424
Chris Dickerson 31 20 5 6 2 0 0 3 1 8 1 0 .300 .364 .400
Robinson Cano 87 338 57 100 21 5 15 57 17 46 6 1 .296 .342 .521
Alex Rodriguez 80 305 53 90 19 0 13 52 32 67 4 1 .295 .366 .485
Eduardo Nunez 51 122 14 34 8 1 3 14 7 9 10 4 .279 .318 .434
Derek Jeter 68 289 42 78 13 1 3 24 24 35 8 3 .270 .330 .353
Curtis Granderson 87 327 79 88 11 7 25 63 45 91 15 7 .269 .361 .575
Brett Gardner 87 264 43 70 12 5 4 18 32 55 23 10 .265 .348 .394
Nick Swisher 82 281 41 70 17 0 10 49 54 64 2 2 .249 .367 .416
Mark Teixeira 87 324 52 79 14 0 25 65 48 54 2 1 .244 .352 .519
Jorge Posada 73 226 20 52 11 0 9 29 29 54 0 2 .230 .318 .398
Russell Martin 68 232 26 51 8 0 10 36 32 41 7 1 .220 .323 .384
Francisco Cervelli 24 70 7 15 2 0 1 14 4 18 3 0 .214 .263 .286
Andruw Jones 36 87 8 17 2 0 4 12 10 30 0 0 .195 .278 .356
Gustavo Molina 3 6 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167 .167 .333
Ramiro Pena 13 22 3 2 0 0 1 1 1 3 0 0 .091 .167 .227
Freddy Garcia 16 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Ivan Nova 17 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 .000 .000 .000
CC Sabathia 20 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
A.J. Burnett 20 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Brian Gordon 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 .000 .500 .000
Bartolo Colon 15 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Luis Ayala 26 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Lance Pendleton 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Kevin Whelan 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Hector Noesi 11 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Jeffrey Marquez 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Buddy Carlyle 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Sergio Mitre 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Amauri Sanit 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Mariano Rivera 36 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Rafael Soriano 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Joba Chamberlain 27 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Phil Hughes 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Cory Wade 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
David Robertson 38 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Boone Logan 33 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000

Pitching

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
David Robertson 2-0 38 0 0 0 0 3 35.1 25 6 5 0 23 56 1.27 1.36
Luis Ayala 1-2 26 0 0 0 0 1 27.0 24 5 4 1 10 19 1.33 1.26
Mariano Rivera 1-1 36 0 0 0 22 4 34.0 29 7 7 1 5 29 1.85 1.00
Cory Wade 1-0 9 0 0 0 0 0 9.2 7 2 2 1 1 5 1.86 .83
Jeffrey Marquez 0-0 3 0 0 0 0 0 4.0 5 1 1 0 0 2 2.25 1.25
CC Sabathia 13-4 20 20 2 1 0 0 145.2 134 51 44 5 35 126 2.72 1.16
Joba Chamberlain 2-0 27 0 0 0 0 1 28.2 23 10 9 3 7 24 2.83 1.05
Freddy Garcia 7-6 16 15 0 0 0 0 92.0 90 35 32 9 27 57 3.13 1.27
Hector Noesi 1-0 11 0 0 0 0 0 25.1 26 9 9 2 8 14 3.20 1.34
Bartolo Colon 6-4 15 12 1 1 0 0 90.0 81 34 32 11 22 79 3.20 1.14
Lance Pendleton 0-0 11 0 0 0 0 0 14.0 10 5 5 2 10 8 3.21 1.43
Boone Logan 2-2 33 0 0 0 0 0 21.2 18 9 8 2 9 19 3.32 1.25
Ivan Nova 8-4 17 16 0 0 0 0 91.2 98 48 42 9 37 51 4.12 1.47
A.J. Burnett 8-7 20 19 0 0 0 0 119.1 97 60 55 17 52 100 4.15 1.25
Buddy Carlyle 0-1 8 0 0 0 0 0 7.2 5 4 4 1 7 9 4.70 1.57
Brian Gordon 0-1 2 2 0 0 0 0 10.1 12 6 6 3 3 4 5.23 1.45
Rafael Soriano 1-1 16 0 0 0 1 1 15.0 15 9 9 1 11 10 5.40 1.73
Kevin Whelan 0-0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.2 0 1 1 0 5 1 5.40 3.00
Phil Hughes 0-2 4 4 0 0 0 0 15.1 25 18 18 4 6 5 10.57 2.02
Amauri Sanit 0-0 4 0 0 0 0 0 7.0 12 10 10 0 3 4 12.86 2.14
Sergio Mitre 0-0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2.1 2 4 4 0 4 1 15.43 2.57


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