Believe it or not we are at the All Star Break. The Yankees sit in first place , 3.5 games up on the second place Rays. The division is tightly packed but the Yankees are leading as of now. The Yankees have been streaky but they continue to play good. The bullpen has been a strength. The rotation has been streaky but good enough. The lineup has knocked the ball over the fence. Carlos Beltran and Stephen Drew have struggled but have contributed at times this season. The Yankees ended the first half taking 2 of 3 from the Red Sox. They finally called up highly touted second basemen Rob Refsnyder. The Yankees news additions had their ups and downs but contributed. Andrew Miller has been a dominant relief pitcher and teamed up with Dellin Bettances as baseballs best relief pair. The re emergence of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez is why the Yankees are second overall in the MLB in runs scored. Brett Gardner had a great second half as well. Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka have pitched well and Ivan Nova and Nathan Eovaldi continue to improve.
MVP - Mark Teixeira may not have the batting average any more but his average has been respectable. He has 22 home runs. He also leads the AL in RBI with 62. His greatest strength however is his defense. Teixeira is having a Gold Glove caliber defensive season.
Best Pitcher - I will go out on a limb here. I'm not going to pick a starter or one pitcher in particular. I'm going with the Miller -Bettances combo. No one has been more dominant at the back end of a bullpen. When they come into games the game is over.
Best Moment - Alex Rodriguez belted a 1st inning home run off of Justin Verlander into the right field seats it was Rodriguez' 3,000th hit. Last year at this time many people suspected Rodriguez would never play baseball again. Rodriguez hit the home run at Yankee Stadium and the fans celebrated. Again last year at the time no one , not even Rodriguez could expect it.
Best Story Line - The reemergence of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira has turned the Yankee lineup into a force to be recon with. Of course guys like Brian McCann , Garnder and Jacoby Ellsbury have done a great job also. Rodriguez was written off after sitting out a year as being done. He couldn't hit a fastball and wouldn't make the team. Rodriguez finished the half with a 278 average , 18 homers and 51 RBI. Teixeira sits at 240 with 22 home runs and 62 RBI. Rodriguez and Tex have turned back the clock and if thy can keep it up the Yankees will keep it up. Rodriguez has supplied the magic tying and passing Willie Mays on the home run list and getting his 2,000 RBI.
What to Look Forward To - Rob Refsnyder is finally up and he looks like a promising player for the Yankees in the future. He belted his first home run way out of Fenway Park in the Yankees final game of the first half. He should be the Yankees second basemen of the second half and of the future.
By Peter Vitella