Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A-Rod and Posada Homers Prove Enough For Yankees Win

If it seems like I'm gushing over Alex Rodriguez and the display that he's put on thus far this season, it's because I am. He's not the only Yankee that's been hitting well--Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada, who'll we'll discuss in a moment, have been absolutely fantastic--but he is the only Yankee that has been on a tear since the very beginning of Spring Training, and has managed to carry his hot hitting into the season.

Last night in a 4-3 win against the Minnesota Twins, who quite frankly have proven themselves to be the Yankees' "punching bags," Alex tagged a 2-run line-drive to leftfield in the first inning scoring Mark Teixeira who walked on a hit-by-pitch. What I'm liking from Alex is that he's making solid contact with the fastball and is seeing every pitch well. He's also showing great patience at the plate and not taking swings at balls in the dirt or ones high in the zone. Alex's bat is quick right now, and the results have him with one of the best league slugging percentages at .929.

The other hero in last night's win was Jorge Posada. Jorge smacked another 2-run homer in the second inning to rightfield putting the Yankees up 4-0, and giving them all they would need to secure the game. This was his third homer in 2 days, so it may be safe to say that he's become acclimated to being the DH. Like Alex, Jorge is slugging at .929 and is doing his job to fill in the "holes" at the back of the lineup. I'm hoping that 2011 turns out to be a fantastic hitting season for Posada as he's nearing the end of his contract; he'll need to show the Yankees that he's viable enough to stick around for maybe another season or two.

And Ivan Nova pitched well last night. The biggest concern for him will be longevity as we're all familiar with his tendency to collapse in or around the 5th inning. That actually did happen last night as he gave up a double and single to Justin Morneau and Delmon Young, respectively, in the fourth, and then followed it with a double to Jim Thome which put the Twins on the board and within 2. In the fifth, he gave up doubles to Alexi Casilla and Tsuyoshi Nishioka which then put the Yankees lead at 4-3. But Nova hung in and threw strikes when he needed to, and mangaed to get out of the fourth and fifth innings without allowing Minnesota to tie or take the lead. And good call by Joe Girardi for being patient enough to let Nova stay in the game and pitch the sixth inning; last year, Nova probably would have been pulled in the fifth after giving up the scoring double to Nishioka.


Russell Martin continued his solid play going 1 for 3 with a single and stealing second base. Robinson Cano's bat is also getting hot; he went 2 for 4 on 2 singles in sixth and eighth innings. Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner continue to struggle, Jeter going 0 for 4 and Gardy going 0 for 3. Gardner did work a walk last night and steal second.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

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