It’s hard to look like a team when the team dynamic is off to start with. By now we all know the difficulties the New York Yankees have been facing with the team this season, what with the injuries or suspensions to key players. But now I can say that I finally see a team again.
I see a team that is working together to come back from a rocky first half of the season. Being on a professional team is difficult, especially when individuals are playing for something other than the team, like for a contract. This week on the road, I saw the Yankees noticeably working together to help move them forward one game at a time. And that makes me smile, because they’re starting to look like a team again.
The Yankees left Seattle with a sweep against the Mariners. I saw notable performances from a number of players, not just one.
Let’s start with Jacoby Ellsbury who continued his hitting streak to 16 games, which is currently the longest active hitting streak in the MLB (I really hope I’m not jinxing him right now). During this hitting streak he has had nine runs, three doubles, two home runs and 12 RBIs.
In Thursday night’s game, he started out with bang in the first inning, hitting a two-run homer, notching his fourth home run of the season. He was taken out after the seventh due to a sore hip after slamming against the wall in the fifth inning, plunging to catch a hit from ex- Yankee, Robinson Cano.
Then there was Derek Jeter who looked pretty solid during this series against the Mariners. He went 7-for-12 with four runs scored. He seemed to be enjoying his last time playing at Safeco Field, and gave the fans a wave after he grounded out at the top of the ninth.
Alfonso Soriano looks like he’s coming back from his slump, delivering a two-run double in the third inning of Thursday’s game. That was his first multi-RBI game of the season, so good for him.
Finally, there was some good pitching from Chase Whitley on Thursday night. He stayed in the game for a little more than 7 innings, which is a career high for him. He allowed two runs and five hits, and was helped greatly by Ellsbury and Soriano in the outfield.
This was also Whitley’s second consecutive win, not quite Masahiro Tanaka, but getting there (hopefully). But I like Whitley because he’s dependable and I feel like he gets overshadowed. Granted it is his first season in the MLB, but he looks promising to me. Overall, he has only issued three walks this season.
“I felt like I was pitching well in Triple-A, and I’m just trying to carry that over to here,” Whitley said. “I think I said it the first outing: it’s the same game I’ve been playing since I was 5, so you just go out and continue to compete.”
He’s right, it is the same game he’s been playing since he was five, that’s what’s great about baseball. He has a grounded perspective as an athlete and I can respect that.
All in all I proud of the Yankees right now, not necessarily for their playing but for being a team. It makes me happy to see each of them working together through this season. I hope to see it continue.