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Pitchers and Catchers

I am sitting in my living room here in NJ, looking out our sliding glass doors and realizing that while we are in the midst of another snow storm which is sure to dump about a foot of snow on us, there is one thing that is warming me up, well - other than my flannel pj's and the heat pouring out of the vents, and that is... drum roll... February 17th my beloved Yankees open up their Spring Training fields for our pitchers and catchers!
I am a fan of football, don't get me wrong, but baseball is my favorite sport and nothing gets my baseball mind going like those videos on Sportscenter of the pitchers soft tossing off the mound to catchers wearing just a glove and a mask.  It reminds me that no matter what is going on in the world, come February, a little piece of my childhood comes back.  As a kid who didn't pitch to a buddy when you were the only two around?  These millionaire ball players look like kids playing at the local sandlot at this point.  Another thing that gets sparked in my baseball shaped heart at this point in the season is the hope of a World Series title.  I know its cliche but at this point every team has a chance - except you Kansas City, sorry.  Now lets take a look at the starting rotation, a few bull pen guys, and our catchers!
The horse of our rotation, of course, is 6ft 7inch, 290lb, left handed throwing, Mr. Carsten Charles Sabathia.  Last year he went 19-8 with a 3.37 ERA in the regular season and despite a little hiccup in game 1 of the World Series closed out the post season with a 3-1 record and an ERA of under 2.  I have no doubts that this guy will have a 20 win season this year and lead us back to the playoffs again this year, as long as he stays healthy.
Number two is AJ and man he gives me butterflies when he steps to the mound, for every friggin inning he throws.  When he is on, he is on, he is a live fastball and a great breaking ball.  However, when is off, forget it.  He can be cruising along for the first 3 innings with 7 k's and no baserunners, then walk the first 2 batters, give up a double and then fall apart.  Once he works his way out of the inning and gets back on the mound for the next, he goes right back to his early game form.  The guy is the equivilent of dealing with a girlfriend that is bi-polar, its scary but you stick around because the good times are amazing!  Look for him go 16-7 this year with an ERA of around 4.
Our number 3 starter looks to be the 38 year old, salt and pepper haired, Andrew Pettitte.  He is our prodigal son, grew up in pin stripes, left for Houston to follow that roided out "mis-remembering" Clemens, and then came back again to finish out his Hall of Fame career where he belongs, The Bronx.  He managed to pull out 14 wins vs 8 losses and an ERA of a little over 4 last season.  While pitching in front of one the best defenses and with a prolific offense will get you a win on what can be your worst day sometimes I am not sure how Andy will fair this year.  I love this guy, he has been a vital part of our team for a long time now, stopping losing streaks, setting the standard for post season pitching prowess, however he is currently 38 years old and has been bothered by a few injuries to his throwing arm in the last couple of years.  I am predicting he will have a season close to last, a couple less wins though, 12-8 is my guess.  I am thinking you might see him getting some rest late in the year, as long as the playoffs are locked up, in order to get him ready for the long October and November run.
Number 4 - This is left up for debate, but I will give my opinion on who I think should be running out there.  I love Joba Chamberlin, his excitement, his energy, his speed and accuracy (for the most part) are amazing, and should be harnessed - in the bull pen as the next great closer of the New York Yankees.  That means, of course, that Phil Hughes should, in my opinion, be the number 4 starter.  This is due to a combination of both Hughes' potential to be a number 2 starter one day, and the fact that Joba in last years's post season looked like the Joba from his rookie year.
Number 5 - Javier Vazquez finished 15-10 last year with an ERA of under 3 and makes a solid option as a number 5.  If he can return to this form, or even come back and throw the way he did in the first half of 2004 we should be just fine. 
Bull pen - the combination of Rivera and Chamberlin will cut our games down to 7 innings while grooming Joba for the closer role, and also saving Rivera from having to be used for those scary 2 inning saves that take him out of commission for a few days.  Gaudin, who will serve as one of the options for a long relief man as well as a spot starter in the event of injuries, plus Aceves, Mitre, Robertson, Ramirez, and the rest of the crew out there are just as vital as the starters are.  While we have some guys starting that have the potential to chew up some innings, we also have Pettitte and Burnett than might be taxing on the bull pens depending on if their arms hold up or not. 
Posada and Cervelli will be the catchers for the team this year.  While Posada has been around for almost 15 years and is by far my favorite player on the team, I see this year being a transition year for him.  What we saw of Cervelli last year, on top of the fact that Jorge is 39 years old leads me to beleive that this will be number 20's last year as a full time catcher.  I can see him sticking around the team for another year aferwards as a DH as well as spelling Big Tex at 1B and Cervelli when he needs a day.  I can also see Jorge coming back a few years after retirement in some sort of coaching role, catchers coach, bench coach, something.  He knows baseball and knows how to handle a pitching staff and can be a valuable asset to the team even off the field.
I hope you enjoyed my look into our pitchers and catchers for the upcoming season.  Please be sure to check back often for the other bloggers as well as myself so you are ready for the 2010!
Eric
Also, please check out my parenting blog - http://www.whatididntexpectwhileshewasexpecting.blogspot.com/

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