Swisher returns to Yankees lineupOutfielder back after missing the last two games
Nick Swisher is back in the lineup for Tuesday night's game against the Braves.
He had previously missed the last two games with a bone bruise on his left quadriceps suffered when sliding into catcher Jesus Flores in the sixth inning of Saturday's win against the Nationals.
Yesterday, Swisher took some swings and decided that he needed another day to rest. However, before Tuesday's game, he was once again doing the home run drill with Robinson Cano and looked ready to go.
“He ran, he hit in the cage,” Joe Girardi said of Swisher's return. “I got a good report about him hitting in the cage and then I watched him run and he told me he was good to go. I said we'll go through BP and if we have to change, we have to change it or if there's a point tonight where if you feel like it tightens up let me know and we'll go from there.”
Swisher has been a key cog for a team and a lineup that is currently on a 10-game winning streak. He is swinging a hot bat recently. Over his last 13 games, dating back to June 2, he has hit safely in 10 contests, going 15-for-44, a .341 clip. He also has two home runs and eight RBIs during that stretch.
Swisher told the media before the game that he was ready to go and that there were no restrictions. He did say he was going to see how it felt, but it seems like the Yankees; right fielder is good to go.
Speaking of streaking
In the words of Will Ferrell, the Yankees are going streaking. The only difference is they are not streaking through the quad or up the gymnasium, but they have won 10 in a row in very impressive fashion. Stellar starting pitching, great work from the bullpen, a lot of power and better timely hitting of late have been reasons why this team is currently clicking on all cylinders.
During this phenomenal 10-game stretch, the Yankees have scored 52 runs for a 5.2 runs per game average, while belting 17 home runs with a .257 team average. The number that stands out though is that the pitching staff has only allowed 20 earned runs in 95 innings for a 1.89 ERA. This is the longest Yankees winning streak in over seven years, when the 2005 Yankees won 10 straight from May 7 to May 17. If you remember correctly, that Yankees team started the season 11-19 before that streak and Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang were called up just previous to that to shake things up on May 3.
These lengthy streaks don't happen very often. In fact, the longest winning streak the Murderer's Row 1927 Yankees had was nine games, so the Yankees are in the midst of something rare and special. During such stretches everything has to go right, the team has to play at a very high level and there needs to be some luck on their side.
“It really has to go right almost every night with your starting pitcher,” Girardi said of the streak. “That's not always going to happen because you can't expect them always to have their great stuff, but for the most part even when they haven't had it they've found ways to shut down other teams. Also, there has to be a lot of timely hits. We had some yesterday.”Michael Pineda update
Michael Pineda was walking through the clubhouse before Tuesday night's game. He looked to be in good shape after receiving criticism in Spring Training about coming into camp a little overweight.
Pineda is going to miss the entire 2012 season due to a right shoulder anterior labral tear, but will be ready to rejoin the rotation in 2013. He is currently on schedule and things are progressing in his rehab process as he moves toward taking the mound again.
“He's been here the last couple of days,” Girardi said. “Just some check-ups with doctors. Everything's going great. I mean it's good to see him not in a sling, walking around freely. He'll go back to Tampa and just continue his rehab. I'm not sure exactly what he's doing. It's a long process.”
Kuroda is key
The Yankees signed Hiroki Kuroda to be the No. 2 starter in the rotation before the season.
At the outset, Kuroda showed signs of being a key pitcher to this rotation, but was very inconsistent. After his ninth start, he had reached rock bottom. He was 3-6 after a bad loss to the Kansas City Royals on May 21 and was sporting a high 4.56 ERA. At that point, opponents were hitting .281 against him and he had allowed 10 home runs in those nine starts. What was even worse was that he had only struck out 34, walked 20 and allowed 59 hits in 53 1/3 innings of work.
Then things turned around. A 2-0 win on May 27 against the Oakland A's, in which Kuroda went eight scoreless, effectively has turned his season around. In his last four starts, he is 3-0 with an impressive 1.29 ERA, allowing only four earned runs in that span. Opponents entered Tuesday night hitting just .214 against him, and Kuroda had struck out 22, walked only five and given up just 21 hits over a stretch of 28 innings.
Girardi discussed how important the starting rotation has been to the streak and Kuroda is a major reason why this team has turned things around.
“I think his slider has been real effective,” Girardi said of Kuroda's recent success. “Getting him back into counts, getting him ahead in counts. I think he's pitched in well to lefties. Pitching in to righties was something that came a little bit easier I think for him. He's been more effective inside on lefties and he's used his curveball a little bit more.”
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