Here we go again. Maybe it’s the karma of HOPE Week kicking in or the quality of the opponent, but the Yankees have looked pretty good in the first two games of the series against the Angels. Their pitching has been solid, including Tuesday night’s 7 IP, 3 ER performance by Michael Pineda, and their hitters have been in a groove, going 3-for-7 with RISP and hitting 5 HRs (two apiece by Carlos Beltran and Starlin Castro).
All of this is giving me a feeling that maybe (just maybe) this is the series that turns things around for the Yankees. Of course, this has been a season long roller coaster ride for the Yankees and their fans and, it’s again worth noting that the Angels aren’t exactly the cream of the A.L. West, but the Yankees have put together a cohesive team effort the past two days that leads me to believe that all they needed was the comforts of home (and for Pineda to change his arm angle).
Pineda did have a rocky 5th inning (coming just as John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman were praising him on the radio broadcast), but he was able to deliver a quality start, giving the Yankees 7 innings and saving the bullpen from further exhaustion, at least for a day.
With Pineda’s pitch count and a bit of a cushion, I would have let him start the 8th if I were Joe Girardi. One less inning for the bullpen and one more (hopefully) scoreless inning to lower Pineda’s still atrocious season ERA of 6.14.
You’re forgiven if you’re not completely sold on this being the long awaited permanent upswing in the season. After all, the Yankees are 10-18 within their own division (easily the worst record of the five teams) so, until they prove themselves there, a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted.
But if there’s a time for the Yankees to get their record, and their confidence, healthy, it’s coming up now. Of the 20 games remaining in June, 13 are against teams with losing records thus far on the season, including 7 against the Minnesota Twins who are somehow managing to keep pace with the rebuilding Atlanta Braves for worst team in MLB.
Yes, sure, the Yankees have a losing record as well. But they have shown what they can be when they are right. Lately they have looked like they are right, so fasten those seat belts and hold on tight. This roller coaster could finally be heading up.