Half the season is over and…..

close up shot of an half full water glassAs I write this the Yankees have played 81 games, literally half the 162 game marathon. They have the best record in baseball and in their division, but just barely. With their 50-31 record, they are on pace to win 100 games which is not too shabby. They are the defending Champions with reasons to think they may repeat. But then again, there are also reasons to worry.

Here’s the official Struming analysis of the Yankees first half:

Reasons to be hopeful

1. Starting pitching–The most important element of a successful playoff team are 3 great starters. CC, Andy & Hughes have each won 10 games, 30 collectively, against just 7 collective losses.  They each have a chance to win win 20 (CC will). In any case three strong starters are essential for a deep playoff run: see Yankees 2009. Best threesome in baseball.

2. Mo–Mariano Rivera was, is, and continues to be a relief god. He’s not perfect (see today’s 9th inning) but he’s close. Not a lot more to be said other than I pray he can pitch until he’s 70. He’s the best reliever ever, hands down.

3. Cano–Breakout season for Robby. This is what we thought he’d do when he batted .340 in 2007. No reason to think he’ll slump in second half. He’s a legitimate MVP candidate.

Reasons to worry:

1. Bench–What bench? We have none. Rookies, cast offs, weak sticks. We need to pick up some bench talent shortly. Hinske & Hairston played important bench roles last year. We need new 2010 pick ups.

2.  Relief piching (except for Mo). Very inconsistent. Joba is not an 8th inning stud. The rest of the pen is hit or miss at best. We miss Acevas–get well soon.

3. Teixeira.  Half the season and Tex is still hitting .243 (and that’s with a recent surge). That’s .047 below his career batting average. It’s not “still early” anymore. His RBIs are Ok (53), particularly given his weak average. Tex has  to  get a few more  hits. But we love your glove everyday. We still remember Jason “manos de piedro” Giambi.

4. Jeter and A-Rod. Jeter is now 36 and A-Rod will be 35 later this month. I know they are both all stars (again) but their batting averages of .281 and and .276 respectively are far below their .300+ averages. And A-Rod modest home run total is surprising, though he’s still among the RBI leaders.

So what can we expect in the second half? Here are my predictions:

1. Robby will continue to rock

2. A-Rod will start hitting more homers.

3. New bench players will be found

4. CC will dominate and win 20+

5. The relief staff will continue to be a problem, but the Yankees will muddle through, but Mo will continue to be brilliant.

….And most importantly, Joe Girardi will be wearing #29 next season (please). Do you agree? Your thoughts are appreciated.

Struming update: The “big 3” pitchers won 4 games in the past week and now are 34-7 going into the all-star break. CC now is 12-3 after a slow start and has won 8 in a row. Tex is breaking out of slump and now is hitting .254 with 60 RBIs, but still far below his lifetime average. Jeter and A-Rod (70 RBIs) are still far below their lifetime averages as well hitting only .274 and .269 at the break. And the Yankees are now 56-32, and in first in the AL East by 2 games over the Rays, and 5 games over the Bosox. Lastly every Yankees fan (and Giants fan) mourns the passing of long time public address announcer, Bob Sheppard. See new Struming: Clear. Concise. Correct.

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