LADY AT THE BAT: Yankees On The Road: Pittsburgh, Boston, Then On To A Stronger Lineup?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Yankees On The Road: Pittsburgh, Boston, Then On To A Stronger Lineup?

Tonight the Yankees start a series in Pittsburgh, where the sweeping Pirates or swept Pirates are now in line to sweep.

And the Yankees need to stop that trend.

The Pirates were swept by the Red Sox in the opening series (one game was postponed but already made up), Then the Pirates season continued with brooms at the ready. It went down, thusly from a "Raise the Jolly Roger" perspective: Braves (sweep),  Reds, (swept); Cubs, (sweep) and Cardinals, (swept).  So if the trend continues, it's Yankees sweep, meaning the Pirates take all three games.

And that ain't happening.

The Yankees will be without the designated hitter this weekend, and there is no indication DH Matt Holliday is planning on playing anywhere in the field, so he'll be ready to pinch hit. The rotation turns to Sabathia, Pineda and Montgomery, in that order this weekend, and all three will have to hit. It only happens in ten games each season, unless there are games in the fall classic involving the Yankees. We can only wish.

Up to this point, that wish could be granted. The Yankees 10-5 start, including an 8-1 home stand, have the Yankees in early  contention. This without two middle of the order producers, Didi Gregorius  who is expected to play in rehab games starting tonight, and Gary Sanchez, who is making progress, but is still a few weeks away from rehab games himself.

So how have the Yankees found their early success?

Lots of reasons, but starting pitching has to be number one. Quality starts were non existent during the 1-4 start to the season, though CC Sabathia pitched five scoreless innings in his first start. Masahiro Tanaka seems to have settled into his ace role after struggling through two horrible starts. Michael Pineda  and Luis Severino are giving Yankees fans lots of hope with recent outings. Sabathia has not turned back the clock to his dominant days, but a revised CC is still retiring hitters and putting the Yankees in position to win. Jordan Montgomery, the new kid on the block, is drawing rave reviews already.

Now the Yankees hit the road, going to Boston, once they are finished in Pittsburgh.

Just keep it going, guys.

Future Lineup Questions
What should the Yankees lineup look like once they are at full strength? Here's my wild guess:

1 Gardner LF
2 Headley 3B
3 Sanchez C
4 Holliday DH
5 Gregorius SS
6 Judge  RF
7 Ellsbury CF
8 Bird 1B
9 Castro 2B

The 7th and 9th hitters have each been cleanup hitters in games mostly won by the Yankees.

Bird probably needs to be in the bottom third of the lineup until he gets going some more.

Gardner and Ellsbury are not back to back in the order, either 1 and 2 or 9 and 1. I like keeping them separated.

Hicks should play frequently replacing each of the three outfielders and the DH (Hicks would play the field with another outfielder at DH). I would favor giving Hicks four starts a week.

No, I don't think Gardner will be benched in favor of Hicks, at least not yet.

Castro at number nine?  He is hitting well, with flashes of power but a tendency to swing at bad pitches, so in a good lineup, hitting him ninth may be justified.

With the aforementioned starting pitching, plus a very good bullpen, I cannot wait to see this team at full strength, whatever lineup is used.

1 comment:

Steve M. said...

Talk about swinging at bad pitches. Have you paid attention to Gardner lately. He looks at the meatballs and swings at balls over his head. The guys in a real funk right now.