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Yankees Notebook: Back to the Bronx!

Yankee Stadium Opening Day 2010 vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

The Yankees took care of business in Baltimore, sweeping the Orioles after having been swept themselves at the hands of the Rays to begin the season. Now, one week into the season, the Yankees (3-3) head home and will open Yankee Stadium Friday afternoon for the first home game of the season to take on Albert Pujols and the new and improved Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Yankees looked more like themselves in the sweep of Baltimore, rather than the sluggish team they were the first three games in Tampa Bay. But still, there’s plenty of room for improvement for a team with sky-high type of potential. Not every regular in the lineup has found their stroke yet (.265 overall team batting average) and the middle of the lineup has struggled mightily in particular. Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira have one measly RBI combined.

The starting pitching hasn’t been overly impressive (with Ivan Nova being the only exception – as the lone starter able to record a win). CC Sabathia hasn’t looked like an ace, Hiroki Kuroda didn’t pitch like a polished veteran, Phil Hughes couldn’t last five innings and Freddy Garcia was historically wild. The defense has been steady (just two errors in six games) and aside from Mariano Rivera’s opening day blemish in Tampa Bay, the bullpen has looked great. As a matter of fact, in the sweep of the O’s, the Yankees bullpen pitched 13.1 scoreless innings.

Here are some other quick tidbits to fill you in on as the second week of the season begins:

– Derek Jeter is the hottest Yankee at the plate to begin the year, hitting .370 (10 for 27).

– Of the regulars, Rodriguez, Teixeira, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson are hitting right around the dreaded Mendoza line (.200).

– Through the six games, the starters ERA in total is 4.22 through 34 innings, compared to the 2.74 ERA in 21.1 innings from the bullpen. Not bad, but not where it should be.

– Rivera recorded three consecutive saves in as many nights, something Joe Girardi isn’t normally inclined to do (pitch Rivera three days in a row) this early in the season, but Rivera insisted he felt okay to do it. Soriano wasn’t available on Monday due to a fingernail issue, but that appears to be in the past after he was out there Wednesday night to get four big outs in the eighth and ninth (and record the win).

– David Phelps has had 2 solid outings out of the bullpen in long-middle relief duty. Through his first three big league innings, he has yet to allow a base-runner. If he can continue to impress, it won’t be surprising to see him get some action in the later innings, filling in for David Robertson and/or Rafael Soriano when they could use a game off. But Cory Wade, who has also impressed thus far, is ahead of Phelps in the bullpen depth chart.

– Raul Ibanez leads the Yankees in stolen bases. Huh? Yeah, he even got two steals of the same variety, stealing second without a throw from the catcher! But both times it was because the opposition was more concerned about the other runner on third breaking for home. So chalk this one up as an oddity, Ibanez certainly is no base stealing threat. But do credit him for some heads up base-running. Ibanez is also tied with Nick Swisher for the team lead in RBI (six), despite starting solely against right-handers. It was banez and Swisher by the way, who each provided game-winning hits in the two extra-inning wins in Baltimore.

– Pitching match-ups for series vs. LAA:

  • Friday: Ervin Santana vs. Hiroki Kuroda
  • Saturday: C.J. Wilson vs. Phil Hughes
  • Sunday: TBD vs. Ivan Nova

– Upcoming Home-Trip Schedule:

  • Friday vs. LAA 1:05
  • Saturday vs. LAA 1:05
  • Sunday vs. LAA 8:05
  • Monday vs. MIN 7:05
  • Tuesday vs. MIN 7:05
  • Wednesday vs. MIN 7:05
  • Thursday vs. MIN 7:05

– Last but certainly not least, Jorge Posada will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Yankees Home Opener on Friday.

I think my favorite part about the Home Opener is how you can tell the players genuinely get excited for the game. They’re certainly happy to be back home, and the 50,000-plus packed house in the Bronx, will be ecstatic to be there to welcome them back.

About Edward Gutleber

Edward Gutleber Jr. "Eddie" Stats: Age: 22 Sex: Male Favorite Sports: Baseball, Football, Basketball Favorite New York Athletes: Too many to name. I'll go with: Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Amar'e Stoudemire, Landry Fields, Carmelo Anthony, Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Justin Tuck & Hakeem Nicks Title: MLB, NFL, NBA, College & Fantasy Sports Writer/Contributor Other Hobbies: Music, Movies, Intramural Sports, Spending Time with Family & Friends Contact: egutleber @ sportsofnewyork.com Like most of my friends and peers I grew up a very happy and spoiled sports fan. Largely in part because I was a huge Yankees fan and the Bombers were amidst their late-1990's dynasty. But, unlike most of my peers and friends, my passion for sports has stuck with me and has only intensified. I never lost sight of my childhood obsession. Instead it has only developed further and has become an authentic passion. I have now graduated from college and have begun my pursuit of a career within the sports industry that will hopefully be filled with endless success and happiness.

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