The New York Yankees are red hot at the moment. After starting the season with a 1-4 record, the team has put together a 7 game win streak, 6 of which are at home. This nice run now finds them currently in second place in the AL East division (as of 4/17).
What sparked some momentum to not only the team, but to its anxious fans, was Michael Pineda’s near perfect game. The Dominican right-hander opened up Yankee stadium with a bang, retiring the first 20 batters he faced, including striking out 10. The shot at history was broken up by a double, down the left field line, by Evan Longoria, in the 7th. However, Pineda’s start surely was spectacular and could be a sign of good things to come. What stood out the most in this outing, was that Pineda utilized more of his offspeed stuff. Being known more of a fastball, slider type of guy, he did a good job mixing in his changeup, making him more deceptive. Pineda finished the game with 11 strikeouts giving up just two hits and one run through 7 ⅔ innings. Pineda took the mound again six days later, for a start against the St. Louis Cardinals. He would earn himself the win, lasting 7 innings, striking out 6 and giving up just two runs on six hits. It would truly be something for the organization if Pineda’s talents finally came into fruition, as starting pitching is a vast weakness.
Jordan Montgomery was called up to the squad to be the team’s fifth starter. Montgomery impressed many during Spring Training, having a 3.20 ERA in two starts. “He has a four-pitch mix, with a very good downhill angle, and he’s 6-foot-6 and lefty,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “His stuff is really good – he’s able to use his breaking ball extremely well, and when he locates his fastball it’s good – and he has different ways he can get you out. We think he has a chance to be really good.” In his major league debut, Montgomery pitched for 4 ⅔ innings, giving up 2 earned runs and 5 hits. His stats seemed a bit skewed due to an early 2 run shot from Rickie Weeks, but he would bounce back, ending the start with 7 strikeouts and earning the no decision. It was a pretty good first start from Montgomery, and at just 24-years-old the Yankees can’t wait to see what he can do.
Aside from Pineda, and Montgomery, the rest of the rotation was solid. Luis Severino looks like he’s put last year behind him, as he beat the Rays with a 7 inning, 5 hit, 2 run, 11 strikeout appearance. Masahiro Tanaka went for 6 ⅓ innings giving up 3 runs, on 5 hits. After a terrible start on Opening Day against the Tampa Bay Rays, Tanaka has done well in settling himself down. Lastly, C.C. Sabathia continues to impress, giving up just 1 run on 3 hits in 7 ⅓ frames. He has done well transforming into a more finesse oriented pitcher. He is currently 2-0 with a team leading 1.47 ERA and a .182 OBA.
The lineup for the Bombers was also producing. Right fielder, Aaron Judge started the week off hot, getting 4 hits, 2 homeruns and 4 RBIs in two games versus the Rays. Chase Headley is continuing to play at a high level, totaling 9 hits and a 1.347 OPS during his last six games. Aaron Hicks is starting to show off the potential Joe Girardi felt in him, as he combined for 8 RBIs on 3 homeruns, in just four games played. The offense did a good job supporting the pitching, scoring 8+ runs in three different games, as well as helping out guys such as Jordan Montgomery and Masahiro Tanaka. More life is being shown, as the Yankees have been a lot more aggressive on the basepaths this season. They are currently second in all of Major League Baseball in stolen bases with 12, just trailing the Cincinnati Reds. With a big bat out like Gary Sanchez, other players are required to step up, and this is exactly what we want to see.
Batter of the Week: Chase Headley
GM – 6
AB – 18
R – 6
H – 9
HR – 1
RBI – 1
BB – 6
SB – 2
AVG – .500
OPS – 1.347
Pitcher of the Week: Michael Pineda
GM – 2
W – 2
IP – 14.2
K – 17
H – 8
BB – 1
ERA – 1.84
WHIP – 0.61
The Bombers look to add more to the streak, as they will stay in the Bronx for a three game series against the Chicago White Sox. They will then head over to Pennsylvania to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Matchups vs. Chicago
Derek Holland (1-1) vs. Jordan Montgomery (0-0)
Miguel Gonzalez (1-0) vs. Luis Severino (1-0)
Dylan Covey (0-0) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (1-1)
Matchups at Pittsburgh
C.C. Sabathia (2-0) vs. Tyler Glasnow (0-1)
Michael Pineda (2-1) vs. Jameson Taillon (0-0)
Jordan Montgomery (0-0) vs. Ivan Nova (1-1)
– David Bieber is a contributing columnist to FingerLakes1.com covering the New York Yankees with a weekly report published on Monday throughout the season.