a 2009 AL East Preview: 2009 MLB American League East Notebook
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2009 MLB American League East Notebook

 

Two years ago, the New York media couldn’t write enough stories about getting rid of then-manager Joe Torre.

But after missing the playoffs in 2008 and a .500 start to the 2009 season that feels less than .500 has the media doing an about face. Following a sweep by a two-game sweep by Boston, the headline in the New York Daily News read, “We Want Torre”.

In fact, the Yankees are 0-5 against the hated Red Sox. That hasn’t happened since 1985.

It’s an obvious slam against manager Joe Girardi who in his defense has not had a complete roster to work with including Alex Rodriguez who might come back from his hip injury this weekend.

But really, the problem with the Yankees is that their pitching staff is just a mess. It doesn’t matter if it’s starting pitching or relief pitching. Prior to their series with Tampa Bay, New York’s 5.86 ERA ranks 29 th out of 30 major league teams, and Yankee pitchers had walked more batters than anyone in baseball with 113 and have hit more opposing batters with 20.

Of course, the money poured into CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett has not really generated much in return. Combined, the two will earn $31.7 million this season and have three wins in 11 starts.

Girardi is still on pretty stable footing. Once Rodriguez returns and should the Yankees stumble, then it could get interesting.



BOSTON

Both the Yankees and Red Sox acquired Pittsburgh outfielders last year during the pennant run.

The Yankees got Xavier Nady. Boston traded for Jason Bay. Bay is proving to be the better acquisition. Nady is on the disabled list with a torn right elbow ligament. Bay is just lighting up New York pitching.

Through the first five meetings, Bay is 10-for-18 (.556) with three home runs and 10 RBIs against the Yankees. Plus, Bay is leading the Red Sox in home runs (7) and RBIs (25). And in going 5-0 against the New Yorkers, the Red Sox have outscored them, 38-23.

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TORONTO

Rookie right-hander Scott Richmond could turn out to be a nice compliment to Roy Halladay.

Richmond won the AL Rookie Pitcher of the Month award for April after completing a dynamite month. Richmond went 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA for the month and averaged just about six innings per start.

Then he continued the trend with a strong start May 3 against Baltimore as he improved to 4-0 in a 4-3 win. The key will be once he starts facing the likes of New York, Boston and Chicago. But so far, so good.

 

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BALTIMORE

One bright spot for the Orioles in what is becoming another dismal season is center fielder Adam Jones.

The key component in the Erik Bedard trade grew up last year with a solid .270 batting average and nine home runs. But Jones may appear to be getting it. He has already hit five home runs and is hitting an incredible .350 to start. Now, he likely will come down pretty quickly.

But if he can give the Orioles about 20-25 home runs and keep the average between .275-.290 then it would be considered a success.

TAMPA BAY

Well, let’s take a look at the face of the organization Carl Crawford. By now, you know he became the fourth player in the modern era to tie a record with six stolen bases in a game on May 3 against Boston.

Crawford also set a franchise record for stealing at least one base in eight consecutive games. It’s the longest streak since Baltimore’s Corey Patterson did it for nine games in 2006. Crawford has 20 stolen bases this year to lead baseball. His career high is 59 stolen bases back in 2004 and could obliterate that number. And the whispers of reaching 100 are out there.

 

 

By Kevin Lonnquist
MLBcenter.com Staff Writer


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