As I predicted, the Yankees did win the series in Citi against the Mets, though the final game left a bad taste in my mouth. Last night’s opener against the Indians was hard to swallow as well. So instead of recapping those select games, I want to look at the first half of the season in general, shouting out to the ones who are mostly responsible for where the Yankees are now.
These are the top 5 guys who I’ve singled out as the First-Half Heroes, and it was very hard to pick just 5 of them:
#5 Bartolo Colon
I’ve said it a million times, but I’ll just say it again: when I heard the Yankees signed Colon, I was extremely doubtful. I thought he was just some big fat has-been who would get injured right away, or would just flat-out suck. Bartolo Colon has truly been a blessing for the Yankees. He is 6-3 with a sparkling 2.88 ERA. He did spend a short stint on the DL with an injured hammy, but as promised, he didn’t need to stay on the DL longer. He made it back as fast as he could, and it didn’t even seem like he missed a beat at all. His first start off the DL, Saturday against the Mets, was as good a game as he’s pitched all year long: 6 innings of shutout baseball, and just 80 pitches. I’m hoping Colon can continue to carry the Yankees in the next half.
#4 Freddy Garcia
Like Colon, I was a little unsure when the Yankees signed Freddy Garcia. I was aware that this 35 year old righty was not the same pitcher he once was, and that his fastball rarely even touched 90 mph anymore. But whatever he’s been doing, it’s been working this year. Garcia reminds me of a Mike Mussina type – a guy who figures out how to win even though he’s not the same pitcher he once was. A guy who keeps hitters off balance, and a guy who is truly intelligent on the mound. A pitcher, not a thrower. Garcia’s numbers are amazing: so far, he is 7-6 with a very solid 3.13 ERA. My Mom and I always joke about him. It seems like he pitches EVERY DAY. But that’s okay, because more often than not, the Yankees win when he’s on the mound.
#3 Eduardo Nunez
Yes, Eduardo Nunez – even though he has made 9 errors. The Yankees didn’t go 14-4 without Derek Jeter for no reason. Eduardo Nunez did an amazing job filling in. So even though he made 9 errors, they didn’t really cost the team THAT much. Look how good they were without Derek! Nunez, though still progressing, really impressed me with the bat. The kid swings that stick pretty well. He’s hitting .278 with 3 HR and 14 RBI on the season. I’ve seen him successfully bunt for hits on more than one occasion, I’ve seen him steal bases (he has 10 on the season), and he’s shown me why the Yankees thought so highly of him. He looks like he belongs, and I hope I still a lot of him in the second half, only under better circumstances.
#2 Curtis Granderson
Ask anyone around here, I said it over the offseason: I expected HUGE things out of Curtis Granderson this season. I said I expected 40 HR. Looks like he’ll get there. Curtis Granderson has been a savior for the Yankees this season. When the other big bats went dry, Granderson stepped up. It’s so hard to put him as #2 on this list, considering how good he has been. He is an all-around strong baseball player. Currently, he is hitting .274 with 23 HR and 59 RBI. He has stolen 15 bases, and has made countless great plays in the outfield, where he uses his speed to his advantage. I am proud to have Curtis on the All-Star team this year, and even more proud that he is on the Yankees. Not only is he amazing on the field, but he is a real Yankee off the field as well. Granderson is such a genuinely kind, charitable man. He is the epitome of what it means to wear the Yankee pinstripes, on and off the field, and the Yankees surely would not be where they are this season if it weren’t for Granderson.
#1 David Robertson
David Robertson just might be God. Or maybe Houdini. I can’t go on enough about what he has meant for this team. Throughout the entire season, the Yankee bullpen has lost key, KEY components. They’ve had to dig very deep to fill in the holes created by injuries to try and build a new bridge to Mariano. But the one guy who they could always count on was David Robertson. No matter what the inning, 6th, 7th, 8th, no matter what the “impossible” jam, Robertson would come in and get the team out of it, making the opposing hitters look silly. His stats are mind-blowing: a 1.05 ERA, 55 strikeouts, and the highest K/9 innings ratio at 14.4 K/9. It’s insane how good he is. But what’s even more INSANE is how David Robertson is NOT an All-Star. I mean is there anyone BETTER than him? In my opinion, David Robertson is the Yankee that is the most deserving of the All-Star honor. And he’s not going. And that really bothers me.
It bothered me enough to create a debate. I doubt anyone’s going to take on this challenge, I mean there’s just no way they can debate me on this…there is no OTHER SIDE! He deserves to be there!!!
Oh well. Robertson, you are an All-Star in my book. Congrats to you and all the other Yankees that made my Yankees First-Half Heroes list. Best of luck in the next half.