I have to confess that there’s some “Yankees Fanboy” within me that still feels/hopes/expects the Yankees to go something like 56-20 after the All-Star break and stage one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history (to win the A.L. East). After all, as a “diehard” Yankees fan, I’m supposed to always have this program running in the back of my head.
However, the realist in me also is looking at the following:
It’s just about the end of June and the Yankees are double-digits back of first place and near double-digits back in the Wildcard chase.
This is a Yankees team who went 9-14 in April thanks to the stupidity of it’s G.M. – who banked on Carl Pavano and Kei Igawa to hold down 40% of the team’s starting rotation. The failures of Pavano and Igawa, coupled with injuries to Mike Mussina and Worm Killer Wang, brought cause for the Yankees to run a rookie to the mound way too often at the start of the season.
This is a Yankees team who went 13-15 in May – but, they also went 8-14 against all teams not named the “Texas Rangers” over the course of the month.
This is a Yankees team who has looked better, on the whole, in terms of winning games in June – however, like the gift from the Rangers in May, New York’s record this month has benefited from going 6-1 (in June) against the White Sox and Pirates (who are two teams with issues, so far, this season).
Trying to ignore my heart and looking at this Yankees team with only my eyes and my head, I see a starting rotation that has three pitchers (Igawa, Mussina and Clemens) who would be lucky to give you more than six innings each turn. I also see a bullpen with many more guys that you can’t trust (Myers, Villone, Farnsworth, Bruney, Vizcaíno, and Proctor) in terms of limiting base runners than guys who you can trust (Rivera). And, I see a starting line-up full of guys having sub-par seasons albeit due to injury, age, or something else (Giambi, Cano, Matsui, Damon and Abreu). Lastly, I see a bench full of guys who probably shouldn’t be in Triple-A, much less be on a big league ballclub – like Chris Basak, Kevin Thompson, Andy Phillips and Wil Nieves.
Let’s review: The Yankees have played poorly against any team with a pulse (so far this year). Most of their starting pitchers are five-and-fly guys. They have a bullpen full of arsonists. More than half of their offense is under-performing. And, the team has no players of quality on their bench.
I have to keep reminding myself of this summary every time I start to think that New York will go 56-20 after the All-Star break.
The 2007 Yankees are probably the worst team to play baseball in the Bronx in the past 15 years.
Sure, there’s a chance that guys like Igawa, Abreu, Farnsworth, Cano, Villone, and Damon can all play like All-Stars in the second half of the season. And, there’s a chance that Mussina and/or Clemens can go 10-2 after the All-Star break. But, would you be willing to bet on some of that happening? Would you be willing to bet on any of that happening?
I’m not. It’s not happening. Not this year. I wish this were not true. But, it’s not happening.