REDHEAD REDEMPTION: Keys To The Yankees/Blue Jays Series

1. I’d hate to admit it, but A-Rod has really improved the Yankees offense:

Credit whomever you want, it could be A-Rod, it could be Soriano for all I care. But the fact is this Yankees offense has been better since Alex Rodriguez got back into the lineup. As much as I’d hate to admit it, A-Rod gives the Yankees a serious threat in their lineup and offers a great deal of protection to Robinson Cano or Alfonso Soriano (possibly one of the reasons why Soriano has been hitting great lately is because he’s seeing better pitching).

Since August 5th, Alex Rodriguez’s return to the Yankees, here is how the “Bronx Bombers” offense has performed with him in the lineup (12 of 13 games), bro:

– 7-5 record overall, have won 6 of their last 8 games

– They’ve gained 2 games in the AL East race

– New York has a team batting average of .311 when A-Rod is in the lineup

– Games where New York has scored 10 runs or more with A-Rod in the lineup: 3

– New York has scored a total of 68 runs during that 12 game span, allowing 58

– A-Rod is currently hitting the following line: .319 BA/2 HRs/6 RBIs/.407 OBP

How important has A-Rod been to this team’s offense success thus far? Check out these stats without him, bro:

– Games with 10 runs or more without A-Rod in the lineup this season: 4 (New York has 3 with him in it)

– New York has a team batting average of .240 prior to him returning on August 5th (.311 with him in the lineup)

Even I, one of the biggest Yankee fan “A-Rod detractors,” has to admit this team has been better with him then without him this season and that makes A-Rod a crucial key in this 4-game series vs. Toronto.

2. Its 2003 all over again for Alfonso Soriano and the Yankees:

Yankee fans had a tough time seeing Alfonso Soriano part in the 2003 offseason because he was someone that was emerging as one of the games most exciting players. Many Yankee fans, myself included, were quickly okay with Soriano being dealt as one of the games best players at the time, Alex Rodrigiuez, would be in pinstripes heading into 2004. It was a tough pill to swallow at the time but the belief was A-Rod would offer New York a better chance to win then Alfonso Soriano did.

Fast forward to now where both are in pinstripes, both are producing and both are helping New York win ballgames. Soriano is doing his part in a much “flashier” way as he is tearing the “cover off of the ball” since coming back to New York on July 26th with a line of .306 BA/8 HRs/26 RBIs/.337 OBP.

Soriano is doing his part in the one area New York needed him to improve upon as well, right-handed hitting. New York’s right handed bats not named Alfonso Soriano are hitting the following this season: .231 BA with 31 HRs. As stated before, Soriano is hitting .306 BA and has 8 HRs, which is 20.5% of Yankees right-handed homeruns this season. Whether he’s “ancient” or not, he’s improved the Yankees in an area where there was a high level of concern in right-handed hitting.

For New York to have a very good series against Toronto and continue their climb up the standings, rather then down it, they’ll need Alfonso Soriano to continue swinging a hot bat these next 4 games.

3. It’s a tale of 2 completely different pitchers:

The doubleheader will bring us a tale of 2 completely different pitchers for the New York Yankees in 2013. The starters, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes, have been polarizing topics for the Yanks this season, whether in a good way or a bad way. Both have had their struggles through the course of their careers and both have had some major triumph’s as well. But as time goes on, we are starting to see whose career may last longer in New York.

I figured I’d pick up both of their stories this season up from July 5th on. I chose July 5th because it was a huge turning point for both of these starters this season. Here are the numbers for both Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes since then:

Nova: 4-2 with a 1.89 ERA and a .219 Opp. BA (52.1 IP, 7 games started)

Hughes: 0-5 with a 6.09 ERA and a .304 Opp. BA (34.0 IP, 7 games started)

Ivan Nova has turned himself around to being New York’s 2nd best starter behind Hiroki Kuroda in the 2nd half of the season while I don’t understand why Phil Hughes continues to get starts in the rotation. New York has lost just 3 games since August 9th, 2 of those games were started by Phil Hughes. It can’t be much longer for New York to push Hughes out on the mound if they can make this final stretch into a playoff rally and we could be looking at a potential “swan song” for Hughes if he can’t get it together against Toronto.

Stat of the series: It took 93 wins for a team to make the playoffs in the American League last season. With 37 games remaining and 64 wins currently, it will take New York to have a record of 29-8 to finish the 2013 season.

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