Blogger Smackdown: Travis Goldman From Pinstripe Alley

The Mets welcome the Yankees to Citi Field tonight to, among other things, show them what a real ballpark should look like. I hooked up with Travis Goldman of SB Nation Yankees site Pinstripe Alley to find out what's kicking across town.

UPDATE: I reciprocated by answering some questions for Travis which you can read at Pinstripe Alley.

Has C.C. Sabathia met, exceeded, or fallen short of your expectations of him? What do you expect of him the rest of the way?

Good question. I'd say he's met expectations. He's been our best and most consistent pitcher. He's gone at least seven innings in 10 of 15 starts and has the best starters ERA on the team. He hasn't that consistent dominant stretch yet, but that typically happens in the second half.

Alex Rodriguez is drawing plenty of walks and hitting for power, though his average is poor due in large part to some bad luck (his BABIP is just .209 compared to an expected BABIP of .295 based on his line drive rate). Is it time for the "Alex Rodriguez Sucks" campaign to die already?

It was time for that campaign to die years ago. As for the current season, he's finally breaking out of his slump. He went 3-5 (with a HR) yesterday and is five for his last 16 with eight RBI. Despite all the hoopla surrounding him (PEDs, Madonna, Kate Hudson, surgery), he's still the best third-baseman, year in and year out, in baseball.

BABIP is a funny thing. David Wright's is .470! Arod's is a paltry .209. I expect those to both meet somewhere in the middle.

Who should be getting the bulk of the playing time between Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner? Is either the long-term answer for the Yankees in centerfield, or are they going to have to look elsewhere?

You could go either way on that duo. If Gardner can stay at .281/.358/.390, he'll be an above-average offensive player, because of stealing ability. When you throw in his plus defense, he's an above-average centerfielder (he's already 1.5 wins above replacement). However, Melky will likely be a better long-term hitter, but doesn't bring the D or speed Gardner does. In a perfect world, both are reserve OFers and Austin Jackson is the everyday CFer for the next 10 years.

Are the Yankees as presently constituted going to be enough to make the playoffs this year? If not, what might they do, if anything, to put them over the top?

I think they are. The pieces are there - can they play to their potential? They're not far removed from a 19-6 run. The biggest questions concern Wang, the bullpen and health. Wang and the pen are starting to round into form, but you never know about health. Sabathia had to leave Sunday's game in the second inning; what if Arod's hip acts up again?; will Posada's shoulder hold up for the year?; Joba and Hughes have been injury prone - will that pop up again?

Is Joe Girardi going to last the season? What are his strengths and weaknesses as a manager?

Girardi will be the manager to the end of the season, no matter what. His job will depend on making the playoffs. His biggest strength is bullpen management. (Or maybe that's because he's always compared to Joe Torre.) For the first time in a long time, no reliever was overworked last year. That's strange for us Yankee fans to see. Ironically, his biggest weakness is often pushing players (non-relievers) too hard. Sabathia's pitch counts are too high at this point in the season; he played Arod every single game for six weeks after coming back from surgery.

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