Just a few things I picked up on from the first series of the season:
1. As I've been saying since the end of last season "Brett Gardner should be the everyday left fielder!" He showed why in this series by going 3 for 9 with 2 stolen bases (including one of home on a double steal)! Even in the third game, where he went 0 for 3, he showed his value by drawing a walk in the 10th inning, stealing second base after seeing about 8 throw overs and a pitch out! And predictably he scored an insurance run for the Yankees.
2. Joba belongs in the bullpen after all. This wasn't a difficult concept to pick up on. He has the mindset of a reliever, not to mention it suits his stuff better. His velocity picked up into the mid 90's with regularity. Chan Ho Park and Alfredo Aceves both showed the difference between the teams bullpens in the Yankees wins. Whereas the Sox have a bunch of matchup guys in the bullpen, the Yanks have guys like these 2 who are converted starters and provide length coming out of the 'pen. They both kept the Yankees tied through high pressure tie ballgames and allowed the Yankees offense to eventually wear down the Red Sox 'pen.
3. The new offensive pickups have both looked fantastic as well. Granderson ended the series batting .333 ith 2 homers and a stolen base. Johnson, though hitless for the series, managed to draw five walks in the three game series and wore down the Red Sox pitchers with his long at bats. Maybe the offense can actually improve on '09 after all. Tex and A-Rod combined to have 2 hits on the series (both A-Rod) and the Yanks were still able to take 2 out of 3 games!
4. Andy Pettitte was fantastic for not throwing alot of game innings in spring training. CC and AJ were both effective and kept the Yankees in the game though both showed some rust in their first start.
Things I'm looking forward to:
- Minor league season begins tomorrow. Very eager to see how some of the Yankees younger players are gonna fare this season especially after some had very productive springs. Montero, Heathcott, Romine, McAllister, Banuelos, Curtis, Weber and Brackman among others.
- Phil Hughes pictched great in a simulated game yesterday (8 1/3 IP, 0 ER, 12 K). Can't put much stock in that but I'm excited to see how he does in his first few games.
- Javier Vazques makes his second Yankees debut. I always liked him and didn't think he really got a fair shake after his first go-round, considering his age at the time.
- Bragging to my friends who are Red Sox fans (especially after losing the first game). Yanks aren't gonna go 0 for their first 8 Red Sox games this year!