New York Yankees: Curtis Granderson Among 6 Bombers Stepping It Up This Season

Teresa RocaCorrespondent IIMay 26, 2011

New York Yankees: Curtis Granderson Among 6 Bombers Stepping It Up This Season

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    NEW YORK - MAY 21: Curtis Granderson #14 of the New York Yankees is congratulated by teammate Mark Teixeira #25 after hitting a two-run homerun in the bottom of the sixth inning against the New York Mets on May 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx boro
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    At the moment, the New York Yankees remain the leaders of the American League standings with the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays directly behind them. 

    Facing multiple ups and downs this season such as the injuries of Phil Hughes and Rafael Soriano, the early success of pitchers A.J. Burnett and Bartolo Colon and the unfortunate slumps of Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner, the Yankees have proven that baseball is anything but predictable. 

    Despite the Yankees' bittersweet season, here are six of the New York Yankees' most contributive players at the moment, who have helped the Yankees attain their first-place position in the AL East standings. 

No. 6: Freddy Garcia

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    DETROIT, MI - MAY 04: Freddy Garcia #36 of the New York Yankees throws a first inning pitch while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on May 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Coming off of his 2010 season with a 4.64 ERA, Freddy Garcia has pitched a noteworthy season so far.

    In 49.2 innings pitched, Garcia has allowed 47 hits, 19 runs, seven home runs, has 36 strikeouts and has recorded an ERA of 3.26. In his most recent game against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 25th, Garcia pitched 6.1 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs.

    At age 34, Garcia may finally rise above his mediocre career ERA of 4.11, as he has displayed his full potential as a pitcher this season with the Yankees. 

No. 5: Alex Rodriguez

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    NEW YORK - MAY 21:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees hits a solo homerun in the bottom of the sixth inning against the New York Mets on May 21, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    With one of the highest batting averages on the team, Alex Rodriguez remains one of the most contributive players this season.

    In 167 at-bats, Rodriquez has 28 runs, 48 hits, nine doubles, nine home runs, 26 RBI and maintains a .287 batting average, one of his highest since 2008.

    In a recent game against the New York Mets on Saturday, Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a home run, aiding in the Yankees' 7-3 victory over the Mets.

    His success continued Sunday as A-Rod had four hits and one run. With the score tied, the Mets walked Mark Teixeira as A-Rod came up to the plate and hit a single that gave the Yankees the lead, contributing to their 9-3 win against the rivals. 

No. 4: CC Sabathia

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    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24:  CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees pirches against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
    Michael Heiman/Getty Images

    Since joining the New York Yankees in 2009, CC Sabathia has always been one of the Yankees' most consistent, reliable and dominant pitchers on the team. 

    Coming off of his 2010 season with an ERA of 3.18, Sabathia has continued to pitch brilliantly this season. Facing 326 batters, Sabathia has allowed only 33 runs, three home runs and has struck out 62 players. 

    In Sabathia’s most recent game against the Toronto Blue Jays, he pitched nine innings, allowing eight hits and four runs. 

    Having the lowest ERA on the team as a starting pitcher, Sabathia rarely disappoints. 

No. 3: Robinson Cano

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    BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 18:  Robinson Cano #24 of the New York Yankees celebrates with teammates after scoring in the fifteenth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 18, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. New York won the game 4
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    Robinson Cano is one of the Yankees' key players and season after season he proves that. 

    In a close game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, Cano contributed to their intense 5-4 win with two doubles. The second double in the bottom of the eighth allowed center fielder Curtis Granderson to score. 

    This game is just one out of the many contributions from the second baseman who has aided his team by posting a .279 batting average so far this season. In his 183 at-bats, Cano has 51 hits, 27 runs, 10 doubles, one triple, nine home runs and 32 RBI. 

No. 2: Mariano Rivera

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    NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees delivers a ninth-inning pitch against the Texas Rangers on April 16, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees defeated the Rangers 5-2.  (Photo by Jim Mc
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The greatest closer in baseball, Mariano Rivera has continued to prove to his team and fans that, despite his age and 17-year career, pitching-wise he is nowhere close to retiring.

    At the moment, Rivera shares the AL lead with 13 saved games for the 2011 season.

    With a 1.71 ERA in 21 innings pitched, Rivera has managed to allow only 16 hits, four runs, has struck out 17 batters and has yet to allow any home runs from opposing teams.

    With expectations that Rafael Soriano would become the setup man to Rivera, aiding in ending games quicker and eventually being a successor to Rivera’s closer position, Rivera has proven that despite Soriano’s absence, he is just fine without him. 

No. 1: Curtis Granderson

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    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 24:  Curtis Granderson #14 of the New York Yankees hits an RBI single in the ninth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on May 24, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
    Michael Heiman/Getty Images

    Because of Curtis Granderson's performance so far this season, he has been moved to second in the Yankees lineup. That decision has been a great one. 

    In his first at-bat on Wednesday against Toronto, Granderson hit a double allowing Derek Jeter to score. The hits didn't stop there. Granderson hit a second double in the bottom of the third, scoring soon after thanks to Mark Teixeira's home run. 

    So far this season, Granderson maintains a .280 batting average. In 182 at-bats, Granderson has contributed with 51 hits, 38 runs, seven doubles, four triples, 16 home runs and 36 RBI.