So, the mighty trade deadline has come and gone, and, for the Yankees, all it meant was “See ya, Buddy Groom.” And, now, there are 59 games left for the Yankees, and they are 2 back in the loss column to Boston. What will the Yankees be going to war with for these remaining games?
The line-up: It will still be the Fab Five at the top (Jeter, Cano, Sheff, A-Rod, and Godzilla) followed by Giambi and Posada, and then including some combination of two from the following: Tino, Bernie, Crosby, Sierra, and Womack. So, it’s basically six sticks and then pray for some good licks.
The starting rotation: Unit and Moose lead the pack. I expect Pavano to come back and claim the 3rd slot. And, for a while, if not for the rest of the year, Chacon and Leiter will fill out the back end. (And, hopefully, Kevin Brown will stay on the DL for the remainder of the season.) With this group, based on their performance so far this year, sadly, there will not be one game where you can say “Should be a win for the Yanks today.” It’s pretty much wait and see what side of that pitcher shows up each start.
The bullpen: Mo, Gordon and Sturtze are the horses here. Keeping them company will be Aaron Small, Alan Embree, and Felix Rodriguez. If Jaret Wright can come back, or Wang, I would guess that would be the end for Small, and then Chacon goes to the pen. There’s really little change here, outside of what it has been for a while, even though there are new names to be seen – it’s still just three guys that you can trust and expect them to be over-worked.
The bench: Flash will remain the back-up to Posada and Unit’s personal backstop. With 11 pitchers, and having a FT DH, there’s only room for five here. Flaherty gets one, as stated. Assuming that Bernie plays CF and Tino is at 1B (with Giambi at DH) you need three of the remaining spots here for Sierra, Crosby, and Womack. (And, in case you missed it, Womack is now the primary back-up for the infield.) For the last spot on the team, assuming that Torre does not want to carry a 12th pitcher along the likes of a Proctor or Franklin, for now, it would be Andy Phillips. What does such a bench tell you? It says that, if the Yankees lose a starting player for a long period of time, they’re in big trouble.
Summary: Mystique and Aura, don’t fail us now.