A few random thoughts as I wait to board a flight out of Detroit…
• Phil Hughes threw a ton of fastballs last night, mostly because that’s always been his best pitch. The curveball was flashy — especially when he was throwing that big, bendy thing in the minors — but he’s always been a fastball pitcher at heart. The fact he’s started to lean on it more and more and suggests he’s growing more and more confident. He pitched with guts yesterday, and that’s the way I watched him pitch in the minors.
• At least once a series I say to myself, is Derek Jeter going to hit like this all season? His May wasn’t nearly as good as his April — the power really dipped — but he still hit .293 last month. He has a ton of hits, and he’s been productive enough that it’s harder to notice those little lulls along the way.
• Brett Gardner is going to help this team. The Yankees don’t want a lineup built around Gardner types, but that element is really missing right now.
• Speaking of Gardner, he’s obviously going to be a significant upgrade in left field, but I honestly don’t think Raul Ibanez is hurting the Yankees too much out there. The advanced defensive metrics might say otherwise — I honestly haven’t looked — but just from watching him, I think he’s done a much better job than he was earlier in the season. He’s not great out there, but I think he’s good enough. He gets the job done.
• If you haven’t listened to The Lumineers yet, go give them a shot. Especially if you got into that Head and the Heart album last year.
• Give all of the credit in the world to these Yankees relievers. Guys like Cody Eppley, Boone Logan and Cory Wade have taken on much more responsibility than the Yankees ever intended, and the bullpen has still be the most constant strength of the team. That said, Dave Robertson’s return can’t come soon enough. Mixing and matching this much means a lot of things have to go right every night, and Robertson will ease some of that pressure.
• Two months into the season, Curtis Granderson is tied for the second-most home runs in baseball. I really thought there was no chance he could repeat last seasons results. Looks like I was very, very wrong.
• One of the guys Granderson is tied with is Adam Dunn. Wasn’t his career supposed to be over last season?
• It’s amazing that this offense has been so very inconsistent, but there were enough good at-bats and hard-hit balls the past week that I’m starting to agree with Kevin Long: This team really seems due for a big series or ever a big week: “What solution can I give you?” Long said yesterday. “This isn’t black or white. This is about one guy getting a hit, and then the next guy getting a hit, and the next guy getting a hit. That’s it. Our discipline has been a lot better. We did have some walks, we’re doing some things well. If we get some of these hits, we’re going to score nine, 10 runs a game. That’s what it’s been, because the men are out there and guys are swinging the bats okay. We’ve just got to keep grinding and keep going at it.”
• We’re not there yet, but how much longer before people start asking questions about Ivan Nova’s rotation spot? His ERA is more than a half run higher than Phil Hughes’ at this point.
• Jayson Nix. Pretty good player. Better than I realized. Not saying he’s an everyday guy or anything like that, but he’s a nice piece of this roster. He does a lot of things well.
• When the Yankees were in Oakland, CC Sabathia bought 200 tickets for friends and family. This topic came up in conversation a few days ago: Sabathia just might be the most everyday, regular person of any superstar in the game. He’s the ace of the most popular franchise in the sport, and he’s making huge money, but you get the sense that he could hang out with his friends from back home and it would be like nothing ever changed.
• I’ve been sick since Anaheim, and I spent the past two days dealing with a particularly vicious cough. Think I should talk to Mark Teixeira to find out what not to do to get over it?
• One last thing: Chat at noon on Wednesday. Here on the blog. Why not? Stop by if you can.
Associated Press photos