Tardy to the 2013 MLB Season Party: The State of the Empire Week 2

canohafner

Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner are two crucial cogs to 2013 first half Yankee machine.

The reports of the Yankees demise may have been exaggerated.

After a rough 0-2 start to the season, the Yankees offense finally arrived on Sunday in the fashion of a 7-0, sweep-avoiding win at Detroit, and it looks like that scoring output won’t be as rare as some feared after the Yanks followed up that win with 11-6 and 14-1 dominations in Cleveland. There’s something poetic about the Bombers finding their bats right as the spring weather hit New York City, but let’s hope the poetry ends there and last night’s rain out (and tonight’s too?) doesn’t signal another listless offensive stretch from the Pinstripes.

Robinson Cano was allowed to reintroduce himself, going on a 3 game tear before Mother Nature hit the pause button on the Yankees’ momentum in the form of a rain out last night. Cano hit .533 (8 for 15) with a walk over that stretch with 3 doubles and 3 home runs, reminding everyone who the best second basement in the game is and why he was 3rd in MVP voting last season. Plus, in addition to Cano joining the rest of baseball in the 2013 season, veteran offseason pick-ups/crapshoots Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, and Kevin Youkilis (ugh!) are off to solid starts as well.

On the other side of the diamond, the pitching looks to be on point as well. CC Sabathia rebounded from a rough first start to out-duel the inhuman Justin Verlander en route to Sunday’s W, and Andy Pettitte continues his fight against Father Time starting the season 2-0 with a 1.20 era in 15 innings pitched through those first two starts. Hiroki Kuroda still seems to bet getting his pitching feel back after taking aline drive off his finger, and Ivan Nova needs to show a return to form from last season but, so long as everyone’s health holds up, the rotation should remain the least concerning part of the 2013 New York Yankees.

A .500 record is pretty much the performance floor this Yankees squad needs to remain at as they wait out the much talked about returns of Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, Alex Rodriguez, and, last but most certainly not the least, The Captain. Those hot starts and key contributions from Wells, Hafner, Youkilis and even a guy like Brennan Boesch who’s made huge contributions in minimal at bats (a triple and home run in only 12 AB’s) are crucial to keeping this team afloat and seem to be the definition of the last few years of the Brian Cashman era. Finding aging veterans ready to prove they still have something left in the tank continues to be a strength of the Yankees’ GM, following up last season’s Eric Chavez, Raul Ibanez, and Ichiro types with the three aforementioned pickups of Wells, Hafner, and Youkilis to keep the Yankees in the hunt while saving them on long term dollar commitments.

Ultimately it’s still too tell to draw any real conclusions from the beginning of 2013, but it’s been nice to see the Yankees rebound after their sluggish 0-2 start and go on a 4-2 run over their last six games to bring their record back to .500 (especially that last Red Sox game, as no self-respecting Yankee fan can stomach a sweep to the hands of Boston – and I happened to take in that game personally with the section 203 Bleacher Creatures). While the team’s ultimate fate most likely won’t be decided until much later in the season, never before has there been this much pressure to perform this early on in the Bronx. If this past week’s run is closer to the norm and what can be expected from this team early on, then they should stay in the fight until everyone gets healthy and they can go on a real run. If this past week was a fluke and the team starts falling back to earth, well then there may not be a season to salvage when Jeter, Teixeira, and co. finally show up to The Stadium ready to don the Pinstripes for the first time in 2013.

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Posted on April 11, 2013, in 2013, Yankees and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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