Pitching rounding into shape

Last night’s loss to the Marlins featured missed opportunities and sloppy defense.  It was a frustrating loss, but AJ Burnett had a good outing, which makes two in a row.  We also saw continued good pitching from Phil Coke and Phil Hughes out of the much-maligned bullpen.  Sure, the offense once again struggled to find the big hit, but it’s worth noting that Josh Johnson had absolutely overpowering stuff.  So while it’s easy to be frustrated with the offense, at least they weren’t up there struggling against some no-name.

It’s easy to forget, with all of the Yankees big name sluggers, that the 2009 Yankees were built to be a pitching team.  Obviously, it hasn’t quite worked out that way, but there is certainly hope.  Take a look at the Yankee pitchers; how many of them do you think will have a better second half of the season than first half?  You could actually reasonably say all of them.  Sabathia has pitched well, but he hasn’t quite put it together yet and been overpowering.  Burnett, Pettitte, and Joba have all dealt with wildness and inconsistency.  Wang couldn’t possibly be worse.  Hughes had a couple bad starts that hurt his numbers.  In the bullpen, Mo had a few bad outings stemming from a lack of control, which happens to him sometimes early on in the year.  Coke was pretty medicore but has been very strong as of late.  Bruney was hurt.  Robertson just didn’t get much of a chance.

Am I being optimistic?  Of course – what’s new.  But with Nady due back soon, the offense should have depth and if the pitchers can start reaching their potential, the Yankees should have another winning streak in them.

Also a silver lining: despite being only 4-6 in their past 10 games and looking relatively mediocre, the Yankees still have the 2nd best record in the American League.  I have been watching Tampa Bay’s games very closely, because I honestly believe that if the Rays don’t make a run, the Red Sox and Yankees will both cruise to playoff spots.  However, if you look at Tampa’s run differential, you have to think they’ll be close at some point.

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