Yankees Continue to Exceed Expectations

Attention Yankee Haters! The Bronx Bombers have the best record in the American League at 21-12 after slamming five homers in a 11-5 victory over the host Tampa Bay Rays.

It is safe to assume not many expected such a hot start by the Yankees. Beloved shortstop and captain, Derek Jeter retired at the end of last season after a 20 year Major League career. Alex Rodriguez was returning from a year-long suspension imposed by Major League Baseball for his involvement in the MLB Biogenesis scandal. The pitching staff was not expected to be very strong. Yet, the Yankees are playing above expectations a fifth into the season and could contend in what is turning out to be a week AL East field.yankees

This year’s success starts with Rodriguez who was not welcomed back to the team with open arms by general manager Brian Cashman or team owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner who felt betrayed by Rodriguez and his scandal with Biogenesis. A-Rod has come in and said all the right things and let his play be boisterous. He has belted eight home runs and knocked in 20 runs while batting .250 so far this season. He has been uncharacteristically quiet after hearing the Yankees refuse to pay him a 6 million bonus for surpassing Willie Mays as number 4 on the all-time MLB home run list because they say his stats were enhanced by steroids. The union plans on filing a grievance on A-Rod’s behalf even though he has not openly complained and has said the decision by the Yankees is “family business.” Nevertheless, A-Rod has been a pleasant surprise in the middle of the Yankees’ batting order this year.

The pitching staff was expected to be shaky, but has been anchored by new ace Michael Pineda who is 5-0 with a 2.72 ERA and 54 strikeouts. Newcomer Nathan Eovaldi is 3-0 with two quality starts in his six starting outings this season. Masahiro Tanaka is 2-1, but only started four games due to injury. Former ace, CC Sabathia, just registered his first win of the season. The bullpen has been solid with setup man Dellin Betances registering four wins and a save. New closer Andrew Miller is 13 for 13 in save opportunities. While pitching has been a strong point, it can still improve or really go down hill for pitchers like Pineda and Eovaldi who appear to be overachieving.

While the team does not have much speed, outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner lead the team with 11 and 10 steals, respectively. They are also leading the team in batting average with Ellsbury batting .341 and Gardner currently hitting .308. First baseman Mark Texeira leads the team with 11 homers and 27 rbis. Catcher Brian McCann has provided timely hits and batted in 18 runs while doing a nice job managing the pitching staff.

Manager Joe Girardi has remained rather calm this season as the Yankees are off to their hot start. If Girardi can find ways not to overuse Betances or Miller out of the bullpen and the starting pitching does not fall apart, Girardi will be a candidate for AL manager of the year and the Yankees will be AL east champions a year after missing the playoffs in Jeter’s final season. Not too bad for a team that had nothing but negative expectations and were expected to release A-Rod during the season as many thought he would struggle after a year away from the game.

And that’s as I see it!

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