Yankees Daily Briefing 09/17/11

Bartolo Colon has been fantastic for the Yankees in 2011, but he has an ERA of nearly 7.00 in four starts against the Blue Jays this season. He’ll attempt to lower that number on Saturday, where he and the Yankees will face Toronto’s Henderson Alvarez (1-2, 3.09)

Discussion of the Day: Who would you rather make the playoffs, the Rays or the Red Sox?

Behind Enemy Lines: Tom Daker at Bluebird Banter tries to figure out what to make of Eric Thames.

1) Katie Sharp takes a look at odd statistics and notable occurrences for the Yankees over the past week. Of note: Mariano Rivera’s 600th save was just his fourth to end on a caught stealing, Robinson Cano becoming just the second Yankees’ second baseman to hit 25 home runs in three consecutive seasons (after Joe Gordon), and the team snapping Felix Hernandez’s five game winning streak against the Yankees – the most consecutive decisions won by a Mariners starter against the Yankees in team history.

2) Marc Carig notes Curtis Granderson’s high strikeout rate.

Granderson is having a fantastic season, and has made himself an MVP candidate for 2011, but the large number of strikeouts is not something that should be ignored.

Strikeouts are one of the three “true outcomes” and the one most detrimental to an offense as they accomplish nothing – that is, with the exception of a wild pitch, there is no way to advance a baserunner or score a run on a strikeout. Granderson’s 39 home runs, 22 doubles and 10 triples (as of Friday morning) go a long way in making up for the outs, but strikeouts have always been a weakness in Granderson’s career. Still, while the strikeouts are not something that should be taken lightly, it’s hard to find too much fault with the way Granderson has played, and what he has meant for the Yankees this season.

3) Jay Jaffe at Pinstriped Bible wonders if Alex Rodriguez can return to being a threat.

Rodriguez has missed significant time this season – he’s only played in 17 games since July 1st, and his 121 OPS+ continues the decline in OPS+ he’s had every season since 2007. At 35 years old, there’s no shock that Rodriguez’s performance would be in decline, and a .284/.367/.475 batting line is perfectly respectable for most baseball players. However, as the cleanup hitter, Rodriguez needs to be more than just respectable for the Yankees. That’s not to say that Rodriguez can’t be productive for the Yankees, but at the moment both Granderson and Cano are arguably better hitters, and Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira aren’t far behind.