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I've been missing for a week. I'm sorry. I've been at a cancer convention in Chicago which is like the equivalent of Six Flags for us livewire pharma types. (O'Brien: "You're going where this week? I don't understand the logistics of this. Are there like Tommy the Tumors walking around a la Goofy in Disney World? Stage 4 Sam?" No.)

At any rate, while ASCO was excellent in the sense it was rife with hot-off-the-presses cancer research, it also made following baseball a complete impossibility. (I found it touching, though, whenever the client would give me an update on the game. Especially since they don't like the Yankees. I think living in New York City has made me wildly appreciative of the smallest favors.)

But I'm back now. Just in time for the subway series. And just in time to introduce a pistol of a baseball fan, and it should say something that I love his writing. Kinda like how I used to crave Sports Guy columns against my better judgement, before he went all Hollywood and became a shell of his former self. Similarly, Matt Strachman is a Mets fan and he knows his shit about baseball, which is a desciptor that can only be applied to maybe 3 other people in the world.

But he's made the ultimate sacrifice and deigned to go Yankee-centric for the sake of perhaps adding some element of objectivity to this blog. Of which it is historically devoid. Cheers, Matt (heretoforth known as "His Dudeness.") And thank you!


Yankees Rundown, Part I: BATTING

Well hello Crazy Yankee Chick nation. To make a long story short, my name is Matt Strachman and I am a straight up baseball junkie. Your general, CYC, was kind enough to offer me free reign to speak whatever truths and nonsense comes to mind, and while I’m chomping at the bit to get the creative juices flowing, let’s quickly clear up some preliminary matters first. I grew up rooting for the Braves, basically because I had a serious man crush on John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, and of course, The Big Cat, Andres Galarraga. Fast forward through the ‘90s and I suddenly found myself cheering for the Yankees wanna-be-cross-town-rivals, the Metsies. But as time passes I find it more and more difficult to ignore my yearning to embrace and root for the Bronx Bombers. I swear I’m not a slut, but you simply have to follow your heart. So here I am, taking the plunge and joining your love affair. I must admit, it feels oh so right.

Well it is a God Damn pleasure to be here, and I figure a nice little lineup rundown would be a perfect introduction.

C – Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin, Jr – To be perfectly honest, I thought it was a piss poor decision acquiring big Russell, an ex 20-20 threat with declining numbers.  Luckily, he finally pulled it together in his first season with the Yankees and put together a solid campaign in 2011 with the bat and solid D. While he is a .265 career hitter, Martin is currently hovering below the Mendoza line. The season is still young and he is earning a solid number of walks while showing some power, so don’t get the guillotine out quite yet. The real cause of Martin’s struggles comes down to plain bad luck. At the moment his BABIP (batting average on balls in play for those of us who don’t have bookmarked) is sitting at a career low .209, so the rock should start dropping in for more hits soon enough. Just as a point of reference the league average in 2012 is .293 so the ball simply isn’t finding the holes off of his bat.

1B – Mark Teixeira – Tex is a straight stud, it’s that simple. Every time I heard callers complaining about my boy on WFAN last season I wanted to smack someone. The dude has a great glove and ended up with 39 homers. His numbers speak for themselves. This season the four time gold glove winner is holding down his corner as per usual. Marky Mark routinely picks his average up after the all-star break so I wasn’t particularly frustrated in his sub-par April. He has raised his average 20+ points in May while ripping 6 taters, so there’s really nothing to see here, move along now.

2B – Robinson Cano – Robby is another one who had a rough April, but raised his average nearly 40 points in the month of May. Sorry to hit you with the nerd speak once again, but he was suffering from some seriously shit BABIP; the swing is right and he just needed the balls to start falling in. He is simply the smoothest and most talented Yankee position player in my opinion, and there is no doubt that he will end up hitting .300+ with solid power. The issue at hand right now, is that Robbie can’t hit lefties this season. Part of the reason is he’s faced some shockingly talented young lefties like Bostons’s Felix Doubront and Baltimore’s Wei-Yin Chen, while continuing to struggle against the big man, David Price. All I know is my boy has to get into a serious hot streak in order to catch up to his ex-bff teammate Melky Cabrera, who shadily just broke Willie Mays’ record for the most hits in May.

3B – Alex Rodriguez – Oh A-Rod, why must I be so torn over whether or not I love or loathe your swagger. It seems obvious that he is not worth the $30 million the Yanks are currently paying him, but Alex is getting the job done. He has stolen a handful of bases without getting caught, but the lack of power is a bit unsettling. As long as he stays moderately healthy he will pop over 20 bombs, but that’s not really enough and this dude is barely cranking any doubles either. Call me crazy, but I would like to see A-Rod in the two hole with Granderson hitting behind him. I’d rather have ducks on the pond for the Grandy man, who clearly has more power.

SS – Derk Jeter – "Now batting for the Yankees, number 2, Derek Jeter, number 2." Pundits claimed that Jeter was fading away after a rough 2010 campaign, but the kid is back. He’s on pace for another double digit home run and steal campaign while hitting over .300, and he looks wonderful. Maybe it won’t last, seeing as it’s a grueling 162 game season, but his range with the glove is the highest it’s been since 2008. Eventually Jeter will have to fade away, but 2012 is not that time.   

LF – Andruw Jones/Raul Ibanez – What a motley crew of old bastards manning left field. Don’t be fooled these men still have some pop. Andruw is fading away, considering he is a lefty specialist barely hitting over .200 against south paws. He still has a handful of bombs in limited at bats but I get legit nervous whenever I have to watch him in the field. However let’s take a moment to give Andruw some respect as he was one of the greatest defensive center fielders of all time back in the day. Thankfully Raul still has some juice in the tank, already raking 9 knockers on the season. Ibanez got real clutch in the May 30th game against the Halos, scoring the game winning run after ripping a triple in the 6th inning.

CF – Curtis Granderson – Ever since Kevin Long helped Curtis alter his swing he has been one of the best power hitters in the game, and he is already on pace for 50+ homers. I said it before and I’ll say it again, Grandy should be hitting behind A-Rod. Unfortunately 12 of those bombs were solo shots and a simple shake up of the order would definitely change that. The strikeouts are up, but that is understandable given his propensity to swing for the fences. The guy is a stud and even though he has never won a gold glove, he continues to man center field like a boss with great range and a solid arm.

RF – Nick Swisher – Nick Swish had a solid April, hittin .284 with 6 bombs, but May did not treat him as kindly. It looks like he is busting out of the slump and the $10 million dollar man just needs to chug along as a role player in order for the Yankees to win games. He is another one you love or you hate. Swisher is always rocking a huge smile, so to the haters I say “on your bike now”.

Utility Infielder – Eric Chavez – He started off hot after his concussion related DL stint, but has cooled down a bit. Chavez is the healthiest he has been in a while so hopefully he can hold it down while Eduardo Nunez polishes off his game in the minors.  When you consider the number of miles on A-Rod, Chavez is an incredibly valuable asset who makes it possible for Rodriguez to occasionally DH and rest his legs.

DL – Brett Gardner – Everyone’s favorite shifty little outfielder has been on the DL for a little over a month with a bruised elbow and strained arm muscles. Fortunately it looks like he will be taking batting practice very shortly, so he should get back to stealing bases soon enough. I miss the guy, but since it was an upper body injury I’m sure his legs are still in shape. Really it just comes down to crossing your fingers and hoping that the bumps and bruises didn’t mess up the Feng Shui of his swing.

As I said before, it is a pleasure to be here and I hope you guys and gals enjoy my ramblings. Look forward to a nice pitchers rundown shortly and let’s go Yanks!!!?!!!

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