Thursday, July 4, 2013

Offense Explodes Again

The Yankees sure have looked like teams in years past and look completely different from the team that was on the field in June. The offense erupted for nine runs this afternoon, and in the center of it all was Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro has been hitting well recently and his average has taken off to a respectable .280 with three more hits today, including a two-run triple and a double to lead off the game. He went on to drive in two runs and scored two runs, accounting for four of the Yankees nine runs. Vernon Wells may have gotten off his snide after collecting two hits in four trips to the plate. With Wells' two hits he is still hitting a meager .232 on the season but it takes a few weeks for an average to go up to what should be respectable for Wells. I envision Wells as a .280 hitter who can hit the ball out of the park and play stellar defense in the corner outfield positions. New Yankee Luis Cruz also contributed in just his second game as a Yankee with two hits including an RBI single in the third inning. The team went 6-13 with runners in scoring position which is a department in which they have struggled recently. Travis Hafner has been hitting the ball hard lately, as shown today with his three hits including two doubles on which he would come around to score. The Yankees as a team cranked out thirteen hits today, none of which came from Robinson Cano who has been on a tear over the last week. The All-Star starting second baseman from the American League did drive in a run today with a sac fly in the first inning to begin the Yankees scoring spree.

David Phelps did a serviceable job today, allowing four earned runs in 6.1 innings. He had good control today, as shown by him not handing out any walks. However, Phelps left something to be desired because of the potential he has in any game of shutting down the opposing offense completely. The Notre Dame graduate won his sixth game of the year to go along with a 5.01 ERA. The earned run average is very high but at the same time, when Phelps keeps his team in the game they tend to score a lot of runs for him. He and Phil Hughes have pitched similarly this season, but Phelps has been more lucky in the win category. They both have their great starts and then both fall into bad habits on the mound when they give up the big inning. With Phelps and Hughes the big inning has been their problem all season long. Like today, Phelps surrendered three earned runs in the seventh inning before he was taken out of the game. Two of the runs were given up by the bullpen who entered the game in place of Phelps.

The Yankees have to feel good about themselves after sweeping a four game series, which is not easy to do especially as a visiting team. With Baltimore's loss the Yankees creep one game closer to the wildcard spot that is currently occupied by the Orioles. Speaking of the Orioles, they will be in town for three games in the Bronx beginning tomorrow night. The Yankees have an opportunity to make a statement after getting swept out of Camden Yards earlier in the week. Ivan Nova will make the start in place of an injured Hiroki Kuroda who was sidelined with a sore hip flexor. Miguel Gonzalez will start against the Yankees. Gonzalez has had a lot of success versus the Yankees, but the Yankees are catching him at the right time with their offense blossoming the way it has lately.

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