• A Pinstriped Stream Of Consciousness

    Posted by on June 26th, 2008 · Comments (7)

    Just some random thoughts…O.K., yeah, it’s more of a rant…about the upcoming Subway Series with the Mets…and what’s ahead for the Yankees this season.

    Raise your hand if you’re thrilled about the notion of Squire Dan Giese and Sir Sidney Ponson starting for the Yankees in the double-header scheduled against the Mets on Friday.

    I’m not seeing many hands.

    Oh, well, I guess it could be worse. If Andy Hawkins and Hideki Irabu were not officially retired, maybe the Yankees would have reached out to them to start these games?

    Yes, I know, as Yankees fans, outwardly, we’re supposed to look at these games against the Mets and say “Inter-league? Big deal. It’s played. Means nothing. These games are no more important than any other game, etc.” However, on the inside, as a Yankees fan, many of us do have some “Big Stein” in us that says “Don’t lose to the Mets!”

    I mean, really, what Yankees fan wants to watch the Mets Jose Reyes do his little happy dance over the next three days at the expense of the Girardi Boys?

    Oh, there’s plenty of potential for ugly, in Yankeeland, on Friday with Ponson and Giese on the mound. At least Saturday’s game should be good – Pettitte versus Santana. Sunday? Rasner and Perez? That’s anyone’s guess. Both of these pitchers are capable of having a shut-down type effort or imploding, big-time.

    Part of me says “Be happy with a split against the Mets.” But, then again, the Mets are still somewhat licking their own wounds. So, should the Yankees feel good about allowing them to take two of these games?

    Anyway, let’s look at the bigger picture. Since May 20th, the Yankees are 22-12…a nice solid ten games over .500. However – and, yes, you knew there was going to be a however – the Yankees have also gone 9-0 against the Mariners, Astros, and Padres since May 20th. So, basically, outside of playing some really bad teams, the Yankees have been playing about .500 ball since May 20th.

    What about before May 20th? Well, in their first 27 games of this season, the Yankees went 14-13. And, in their next 17 games, they went 6-11. That’s not impressive. Need I go on?

    Here’s the deal: Offensively and defensively (meaning pitching) the Yankees have been around the middle of the pack, to date, in the American League. They’ve scored 366 runs and they’ve allowed 344 runs. And, this why they’re a near-.500 ballclub.

    It’s all about run differential. If you’re a hitting team, you need to score more than you allow to win games. If you’re a pitching team, you need to allow less runs than you score to win. Right now, the Yankees are not a hitting or a pitching team. They’re a hit as well as you pitch team – scoring about as much as they allow. Hence, the near-.500 record.

    In the second half of this season, the Yankees need to pick a plan of attack and improve the team so that they can follow the plan.

    This means they need to improve the last two slots of their starting rotation – and become a pitching team. Or, they need to start getting some offense from Jeter, Cano, Cabrera and Abreu and become a monster hitting team.

    Now, it seems, lately, like Jeter, Cano and Abreu are starting to hit. So, do the Yankees sit tight, keep serving the Cashman Kool-Aid, and wait for their team hitting to arrive and make up for the shortages in their starting rotation? That could work – but, what if Cano and Abreu are not truly coming around? And, what if Damon and Matsui’s injuries become serious? And, what if Giambi breaks down? Then, all of a sudden, it’s Posada, A-Rod, and Jeter being asked to carry the load. Is that enough?

    The safer bet would be to add least one solid starting pitcher to follow Pettitte, Chamberlain and Mussina – and fill in the fifth slot with guys like Rasner, Kennedy, Hughes…and…even…gulp…Pavano…nah, not Pavano…let’s say Karstens…and hope that you get Wang back in September.

    If you’re able to throw Pettitte, Chamberlain, Mussina and “Joe Solid Starter” in a row, you’re likely to start winning some series…and putting together some four and five game winning streaks. And, if that happens, then the Yankees can have a nice second half of 2008.

    O.K., there. I’ve gotten all that off my chest. Whew. That feels better.

    Comments on A Pinstriped Stream Of Consciousness

    1. Raf
      June 26th, 2008 | 5:36 pm

      This means they need to improve the last two slots of their starting rotation – and become a pitching team. Or, they need to start getting some offense from Jeter, Cano, Cabrera and Abreu and become a monster hitting team.
      ———–
      I would wager the latter than the former (will it happen? dunno).

      Looks like the pitching will hinge on the return of Wang, Hughes & Kennedy returning and pitching effectively (will it be too late? dunno).

      Either that, or Cashman has something up his sleeve. I doubt it, but stranger things have happened.

    2. Neil
      June 26th, 2008 | 6:29 pm

      Steve,

      Ken Singleton was asked by Joe and Evan on WFAN if he thought the Yankees were a playoff team and Singleton sort of tip-toed around the question after a long pause.

      It’s hard to believe that so many people are writing them off right now, but without a proven rotation it’s understandable.

      Do you think the Yankees are a playoff team right now or do they need to add a big time arm?

    3. butchie22
      June 26th, 2008 | 7:26 pm

      If the season hinges on the return of Pavano and Wang then this might be a lost season. The advent of the Rays has put a monkey wrench in the works of former slow start Yankee seasons. I thought that that team would be Toronto but it turns out that the artists formerly known as the Devil Rays have done it. In essence, the Yanks can’t just turn it on and hope for the best because the Rays are in the mix as well this year.It might be too late at the trading deadline to trade for a CC Sabathia or a Burnett or someone of that ilk.

      I don’t think they can become a pitching team ,but the offense will come alive in some way. That is a better bet for the Yanks. I don’t see them becoming a Blue Jay type team (all great pitching,no offense) and winning this division or getting the Wild Card when the Rays and Sox can both pitch and hit. Their best best is to get better offensively, because the pitching out there is slim and they have plenty of guys who have been master hitters on their team and that could be the difference.

    4. June 26th, 2008 | 8:45 pm

      ~~Do you think the Yankees are a playoff team right now or do they need to add a big time arm?~~

      As of now, the Yankees are like 5 back in the LC of the WC. So, they ARE playoff contenders…for the moment. Are they a playoff team? Well, they should be – even with their injuries – because of the talent on the team. Most would agree that they’re one of the five best teams in the league – even with their warts. But, only four teams make the playoffs…

      FWIW, yes, I think they need one more big-time arm in the rotation to say that they’re almost can’t miss for the playoffs. As of now, it’s close…and they might miss, if they stand pat.

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