Friday, May 29, 2009

Teixeira to MVP? Wang to... Reliever?

Newly acquired first baseman Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees has been on a tear this May. After ending the month of April barely batting over .200, the Yankees slugger is now batting over .280 with a .382 on base percentage due to his recent tear in homeruns and doubles throughout the month of May. He is one homerun shy of the major league lead in homeruns at 15 and has a slugging percentage of just under .600.

Typical Teixeira right? Known for his cold struck start at the beginning of every season, Teixeira never lives down his dominance in May, as well as the rest of the season. With the Yankees lineup as versatile as it is, the sky is the limit for the slugger this year. He sits in the 3rd spot of the line-up, right before the home run saavy Alex Rodriguez. With Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon sitting before him at spots 1 and 2, both batting .300 and both with an OBP of over .370, Teixeira has the ability, and the RISP to drive in more runs this season then any other Major League Baseball player. MVP? MVP? MVP? It is way to early to tell now but we'll see.

As for the struggling Chien-Ming Wang, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. In Wednesday night's romp over the Texas Rangers, Wang threw two perfect innings to close out the game. His nasty slider left batters shaking in their shoes, typical of the twice 19 game winner Wang. Asked if he was ready to rejoin the Yankees starting rotation, where he once held that coveted number 1 spot, Wang replied, "I'm ready," with a forlorn smirk as if he has been hiding those hideous sliders and consistent fastballs.

Bringing a career record of 54-20 into this season, Wang is a proven winner. After a season ending Lisfranc sprain to his right foot last June, he started this season going 0-3 wih a 34.50 ERA in six innings before going on the disabled list with hip weakness. Everybody slumps right? Recently, Wang through 13 scoreless innings in Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, on top of throwing two perfect innings Wednesday night, retiring all six batters he faced in order, striking out two.

However, the Yankees once again find themselves in a difficult situation, ultimately regarding Wang and his replacement Phil Hughes. Hughes has been spot on throughout his last two outings, Monday more then the first. Hughes wasn't good Monday, he was unbelievable, throwing a shutout threw eight innings after being pulled before the ninth began. The 22 year old first round pick a few years ago is making decisions "difficult" for Joe Girardi and the Yankees Clubhouse regarding his spot in the pitching rotation.

Solution: If Wang is ready, throw him in there. However, don't kick out Hughes just yet. Hughes looks comfortable and confident and each day he looks more like a Yankee. Throw Joba in the bullpen where he belongs, and win a World Series again. Simple.

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