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April 9, 2006

What? Me Worry?
by SG

After a four game losing streak, today's 10-1 win over the Angels was just what I needed.

Ignore the wins and losses so far, it's only been six games. What is more encouraging is that the areas of perceived weakness on the team so far have been strengths.

The Yankees' team ERA of 3.04 is second in the league. Their FIP of 3.58 is also second best (both behind the red-hot Detroit Tigers). They have scored 35 runs and allowed 23, which translates into an expected winning percentage of .698. In other words, they should be 4-2, and they would be expected to win 113 games if they continue the way they've played.

Obviously, it's too early to draw any meaning from any of the numbers I've just posted since the Yankees have played just two opponents, which is why their record is meaningless right now.

Mike Mussina now has pitched two strong games and has a 2.77 ERA. If he can back up Randy Johnson, the Yankees will be in good shape. The rest of the starters and even the bullpen have all been ok, if not great. Octavio Dotel is expected to start throwing in simulated games this week, and could be back sooner than planned, which would be great. He and Aaron Small threw batting practice this weekend.

Even their defense has been solidly middle of the pack, as they have converted 73% of balls in play into outs, which ranks 8th in the AL. I don't expect the pitching or defense to continue to be so good, but I don't expect the offense to be so inconsistent either.

There was a negative for me though, and it was the start of Miguel Cairo at first over Andy Phillips. I like Cairo, but he's not a good player, and he's particularly bad if he's playing first base. He should be an ocassional middle infielder, anything more than that makes no sense. Considering his career line of .125/.211/.188 against Colon, even the batter-pitcher rationale that Torre uses sometimes (Enrique Wilson vs. Pedro), as flawed as it is, could not have been a factor. Apparently, the reason was even more flawed than I could have possible imagined. Torre sat Phillips so that Cairo could start due to his "enthusiasm" and "cheerleader" ability. I guess you can't do that on the bench. (Thanks to The Dog for the information)

Phillips will sit on the bench for a week, get an AB and look bad, then be buried for another week. Again, no one is predicting stardom for Phillips, but he deserves a chance to show if his Columbus numbers the last two years translate to the majors, and it doesn't appear to be happening yet.

Anyway, enough griping. A 2-4 road trip sucks, but the Yankees knocked one of the hardest parts of the schedule off the books, played relatively well all around, and are coming home on a good note.

If you look on the left border under the Magic Numbers table, you'll see a new addition to the blog, The March to 1000 Runs. So far, the Yankees are on pace to score 945.