Derek Jeter's been red-hot to start 2012.
April has come and gone in the blink of an eye and our beloved New York Yankees sit at 13-9, good for third place in the most current American League East standings. They trail the Tampa Bay Rays (15-8) by 1.5 games and the Baltimore Orioles (14-9) by just 0.5 game.
Here's how the Bombers faired against the teams they played in April:
0-3 vs. Tampa Bay Rays (15-8)
4-0 vs. Baltimore Orioles (14-9)
2-1 vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (8-15)
2-2 vs. Minnesota Twins (6-16)
2-0 vs. Boston Red Sox (11-11)
1-2 vs. Texas Rangers (17-6)
2-1 vs. Detroit Tigers (11-11)
New York's offense has unmistakably been a driving force behind their 13-9 record, compiling 120 runs (3rd behind Boston and Texas) while batting .273 (4th behind Texas, Boston and St. Louis) with an OBP of .350 (2nd behind Texas) and slugging .472 (3rd behind Texas and Boston). Yeah, the Texas Rangers lead the majors in all four of those categories.
Derek Jeter, to the surprise of many, had the hottest 22 game start to his career, putting up a ridiculous triple slash of .389/.433/.579 with a wOBA of .434 and a wRC+ of 177. Jeter's WAR for all of 2011 (131 games) was 2.3 and he already sits at 1.1 WAR through April of this season. While we can expect to see a regression in his BABIP, currently at .413, he should still continue his dominant resurgence he's had ever since his 3000th hit in July.
Curtis Granderson led the aerial assault, bombing eight home runs in April followed by Nick Swisher's six. Alex Rodriguez (4), Mark Teixeira (3) and Robinson Cano (1) combined for only eight home runs in April. It's going to be scary for the rest of the league when these three heat up.
Another huge positive for the Yankees has been their bullpen, which is arguably most responsible for the Yankees' current position in the standings.
Through 22 games, the bullpen has already tossed 76.1 innings (more than 3.1 innings per). They've allowed 17 earned runs on 56 hits, 38 walks (eight of them intentional), while striking out 81. Their ERA is exactly 2.00. David Robertson has struck out 18 batters in 11.0 innings (Ew...) and only walked three batters.
The starting rotation, however, has been a bit of a wild ride. What appeared to be a plethora of starters has been narrowed down significantly, as Freddy Garcia's struggles have landed him in the bullpen and Michael Pineda is out for the entire year with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova have helped relieve the bullpen of their workload, going at least 6.0 innings in 11 of their 14 combined starts (Sabathia has gone 6.0+ in each start, Kuroda pitched 4.1 and 5.2 in the games he didn't reach 6.0 innings, Nova 5.1 in the only game he didn't go 6.0).
Phil Hughes has performed very poorly, pitching only 16.0 innings in four starts and allowing 14 earned runs, nearly one per inning pitched. While his strikeout rate has been great (9.6 K/9), he's been tagged for 24 hits and allowed six walks.
Andy Pettitte awaits in the wings and should be rejoining the Yankees at some point in the near future.
Nick Swisher is expected to miss a week with a strained hamstring and Brett Gardner is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list this Thursday after suffering a right elbow strain back on April 19.
What are your thoughts on the month that was, Pinstripe Alley? I'd say the Yankees are in a good position right now after April.
Here's to some more great baseball in May!