Sunday, May 20, 2007
Time for the seasonal, monthly State of the Yankees post. You have, no doubt, noticed that it's 3 weeks into the month and the Yankees.5.7 is just now popping up. Clearly it's been a
tough month and the State of the Yankees is not good - 19 and 23, and 10.5 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East. Understandably, I've been having some trouble getting up the motivation to do this post. But the Bombers won 6 to 2 at Shea last night behind bombs from The Captain, The Other Captain (Posada), one from A-Rod, and behind a strong performance from the 11th starter of the year, the rookie Tyler Clippard, who went 7 innings and looked fantastic, only giving up 3 hits in his major league debut (the NoMaas.org gang was jacked up about him before this debut and is even more so now). So, with a critical series against the Red Sox starting tonight, and all rational perspective taking its leave for the next three days, this is as good a time as any to do this post.
Scrolling back, I realize that Yankees.4.7 was posted on Opening Day, which was a good 7 weeks ago. Obviously, quite a bit has happened in the interim. We saw A-Rod start off the season on fire, with a record 14 home runs and 36 RBI in the month of April, leading an impressive offensive assault that was wasted due to pitching injuries, inconsistency, and Joe Torre's criminal inability to manage his bullpen. I'm starting to believe that Mel Stottlemeyer was a much bigger part of the Yankees' success than he has gotten credit for. I love the Louisiana Lightning, but he clearly hasn't been able to talk any sense into Joe. I really hate to say this, and I've held out a long time before coming to this conclusion, but I think it's time to put an end to the Torre Experience. He was the man for those teams, but these are not those teams, and they may require a different skipper. And as much as I love Donnie Baseball, I'm not sure if he's the guy to do it. Joe Girardi? Bobby Valentine? They really should have locked up Sweet Lou Pinella in the offseason, but they let him slip away to the Cubs where he'll probably stay, as he should, for a few years. What to do? The next couple weeks will likely dictate that, though I think they'd have to lose the next 6 games to the Sox for the Boss to pull the plug on Joe during the season.
What else? Mariano's getting shelled, but I'm still not really worried about him. He's started rough in recent seasons and has come around and I'm confident he'll be there in the end again this year. The question is whether the rest of the team will be able to put him in the position to be The Sandman again. The first month it was all hitting and spotty pitching; the second month it's been spotty hitting and spotty pitching. I'm a long long long way from giving up on this season, but I'll admit that I'm starting to get a bit nervous. I'm a 4 out of 10 on the Panic Scale. Time to start turning it around. Maybe last night will turn out to be the gut check game they've been needing. I'm still optimistic. If Hughes and Clemens turn out to be effective, Clippard and De Salvo can provide some long relief, the bullpen gets rested, Abreu gets on base (like he did tonight), Cano gets his stroke back, and Jeter and Posada keep hitting, I like this team's chances. Which reminds me: how about Jeter and Posada. Posada's hitting .390. Hip Hip Jorge!
Anyways, the Yankees won last night and baseball is a one day at a time sport, so it's a good day today. For the next 90 minutes at least. Hopefully, Wang will keep the ball down, get a load of groundballs, Cano will remember how to field, and the Yankee bats will be lively enough to get a few runs off Yankee killer, Tim Wakefield. If we can get 2 out of 3 from the Sox, I'll feel pretty good about it, even though that would still leave us down 9.5. It'd be a start. Go Yanks!