The final AL All-Star balloting update before the teams are set

36 Comments

There’s still time to vote, but if it ended now, the AL All-Star team would look like so.

The only change to a starter over last week’s results: Robinson Cano taking over first place at second base from Ian Kinsler. Downballot, we see A-Rod passing Evan Longoria for third place at third base, a flip-flop of Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones at 4-5 among outfielders and Adam Dunn passing Raul Ibanez for third place among DH’s. So it’s mostly ho-hum.

CATCHER
Mike Napoli, Rangers: 3,008,228
Joe Mauer, Twins: 1,772,228
Matt Wieters, Orioles: 1,623,459

FIRST BASE
Prince Fielder, Tigers: 2,825,532
Paul Konerko, White Sox: 2,261,388
Mark Teixeira, Yankees: 1,863,873

SECOND BASE
Robinson Cano, Yankees: 3,559,290
Ian Kinsler, Rangers: 3,462,367
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: 1,666,282

THIRD BASE
Adrian Beltre, Rangers: 3,073,541
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: 2,692,047
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 1,748,534

SHORTSTOP
Derek Jeter, Yankees: 4,407,982
Elvis Andrus, Rangers: 2,764,888
J.J. Hardy, Orioles: 1,331,927

OUTFIELD
Josh Hamilton, Rangers: 7,310,824
Curtis Granderson, Yankees: 3,812,339
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: 2,773,442
Nelson Cruz, Rangers: 2,681,019
Adam Jones, Orioles: 2,633,259
David Murphy, Rangers: 1,738,805

DH
David Ortiz, Red Sox: 3,128,711
Michael Young, Rangers: 2,564,572
Adam Dunn: 1,436,643

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

Elsa/Getty Images
8 Comments

Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.