The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Random thoughts at the end of a long trip

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Jun 06, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

As far as three-city road trips go, a swing through Seattle, Southern California and the Bay Area is better than most. If you evaluate road trips the way I do — familiar restaurants, nice hotels, the chance to see a friend or two — those three stops rank pretty high on the list.

If you evaluate road trips the way a baseball players, the results matter more than the food and the accommodations.

I guess this trip was a win for everyone.

“I think it’s important to go home playing well,” Joe Girardi said. “Guys feeling good about themselves, feeling good about the way they’re throwing the baseball, the way they’re hitting the baseball. I think that’s important.”

Here are a few things that might or might not be true on this off day following the Yankees successful trip to the West Coast.

• I remember thinking, after the first few games of the season, that Mark Teixeira might be working his way back to an MVP-caliber season. He looked that way again during the road trip. Facing so many front-line starters made it very hard to hit for average on this trip — and Teixeira certainly didn’t — but he hammered mistakes, and he’s been doing that for a few weeks now. It was a reminder that this guy has the ability to carry the team for a while if he gets hot.

• Someone asked the other day when I thought Derek Jeter would reach 3,000 hits. My answer was this: I don’t know how or why, but I really wouldn’t be surprised to see him do it during this upcoming home stand. He’s not on pace to do it, and it’s not like he hit the ball especially hard out West, but I really believe he could string together a few two-hit, three-hit games and make a run at the milestone before Chicago.

• Robinson Cano made some really nice plays during this road trip. He finally looked like the defensive standout he was last season. Until now, he’d been oddly inconsistent in the field.

• Dave Robertson really is very good at what he does. He walks guys, and I realize it’s a short-coming, but every pitcher has those. Robertson has the ability to make up for his short-coming with strikeout stuff. Raw velocity doesn’t tell you nearly enough about how good his fastball is. You have to watch the swings. There were guys in that Angels lineup who were completely overmatched.

• The whole concept seems annoying, but I love the Rally Monkey. Cracks me up every time. And the crowd always responds.

• There are other No. 1 starters who, on their best days, are better than CC Sabathia on his best days. But best days don’t happen very often, and on a start-to-start basis, Sabathia has to be considered one of the very best. He’s as reliable as they come.

• Brett Gardner used to drive people crazy with his reluctance to steal unless he was absolutely certain — or as close to certain as he could be — that he was going to take the bag without being caught. Now he’s being thrown out at a surprising rate. I have no idea what’s going on there, but I don’t think he’s any slower than he used to be. I can only guess that he’s not getting the same jumps that he has in the past.

• There were signs of life in Anaheim, but a couple of doubles and some hard-hit fly balls don’t necessarily mean Jorge Posada has found his swing. I really thought he would have begun climbing out of the hole by now.

• Eddie Vedder and Death Cab For Cutie came out with new albums during this trip, but both albums were released after the team left Seattle. The music nerd in me would have enjoyed buying those albums in their natural habitat.

• Bartolo Colon has really overshadowed a great first two months from Freddy Garcia. This is why teams are always interested in taking a look at veteran pitchers who have clearly lost their elite stuff. Some of them figure out how to work with less. That’s why it was worth giving Kevin Millwood a look even if it didn’t work out.

• It seems like we’re never talking about A.J. Burnett, and that’s a good thing.

• Based on nothing but wild speculation, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Randy Flores show up in New York this week. The Yankees could get away with carrying just one long reliever — if that guy gets burned out, just send him down and replace him with someone else from Triple-A — and use that second long-relief spot for a second lefty. Hector Noesi and Lance Pendleton each deserve to stay, but game-by-game, there’s really not a role for both of them.

Associated Press photos




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