In the final game of the road trip, and the rubber game against the Rangers, the Yankees offense finally showed signs of life, in their 12-5 victory Sunday afternoon.
The Yankees theme of playing sloppily in the field continued but Derek Jeter’s breakout game essentially makes up for it.
Jeter achieved two firsts on the season during the Yankees beat down over the Rangers. He was able to hit his first two home runs in consecutive at bats, and also steal his first base of the season. The Captain had three hits on the afternoon, and after a slow start to the season, his average is up to a respectable .276. Over the last six games Jeter is hitting .393 which makes it seem like his work with hitting Coach Kevin Long is really making a difference. Jeter has also proven how valuable he is in the field because in his 115 chances he has only made one error, but his backup to this point, Eduardo Nunez, has made five errors in his six games which is unacceptable.
Francisco Cervelli was the most unexpected offensive hero from Sunday’s game because he is usually a singles hitter and not a power hitting home run threat. The score was 6-5 in favor of the Yankees when Cervelli hit a grand slam in the eighth inning to effectively put the game out of reach. He drove in Nick Swisher, Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner, and he even locked shocked at what he had just done when he was rounding second. In 141 games played this was only Cervelli’s second home run but it came at the right time because the team really needed an offensive outburst.
The one glaring negative from this game was that the defense committed four errors. Two of them were by CC Sebathia and he surely should have come up with the second one cleanly. Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez, who are usually very reliable in the field, fell victim to their first error of the season. The Yankees were able to capitalize off of facing Dave Bush instead of Alexi Ogando, who was out with a blister on his right index finger, and then the middle of the Rangers bullpen, but against better pitchers they will have to limit the miscues.
In their last five games the Yankees have made an astronomical nine errors, only going one game without a miscue. This can’t continue and the errors during Sunday’s game could very well have cost them a victory. However, one shouldn’t dwell on the negative because they were able to win the series against the Rangers, and the Yankees are still tied for first place. The Yankees have too many productive fielders to continue this ineffective defense and the offense is starting to turn the corner.
They have an off day before a three game set against the Royals in the Bronx, who have gotten off to a surprisingly strong start. The Royals were supposed to be a year away because they have the top rated prospects in baseball but it is still unlikely that they will stay in the race past July. Kansas City is 18-16 so far, which is good for second place in the AL Central, but only 3-8 on the road so the Yankees should be able to sweep or at least take two out of three.
Many of the Yankees have hit well against the Royals including Jeter who has hit .317, Robinson Cano whose average sits at .320 with 27 RBI and especially Alex Rodriguez who has a .328 average, with 44 home runs and 118 RBI against the frequent cellar dweller from the Central division. On Tuesday night, the Yankees will send Freddy Garcia to the hill, and the Royals will start a struggling Kyle Davies.