Ron Hart, over at Associated Content, lists his “Seven Ways the Yankees Season Could Go Wrong.” They are:
1. Outfield offense
3. Contract scenarios with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera
4. Andy Pettitte’s flickering performance
5. Joe Girardi’s personality
6. AJ Burnett and Jorge Posada’s working relationship
7. DH production (or can Nick Johnson produce what Hideki Matsui did?)
In summary, Hart offers:
So while the Yankees will not have many people shedding tears for them, they very well could run into issues as the 2010 campaign opens. If one or two of these things do go wrong for the Yankees, they can probably deal with it. But if, as sometimes happen, everything seems to turn south at once, the Yankees could be fighting all the way, or even on the outside looking in when the 2010 postseason begins.
I agree that the Yankees offense from DH and the outfield may be lacking this season – compared to last year. But, the offense that the Yankees get from their infield should be more than enough to ensure New York scores between 800 and 900 runs this season.
I cannot sign on with many of Hart’s other concerns. Sure, they could happen. But, even if they did, I see them more as excuses, and not a valid reason, for not making the post-season this year.
For me, at this time, the Yankees biggest “go wrong” concerns should be around A.J. Burnett and Javy Vazquez. As always, when it comes to being a contender, especially in the A.L. East, it’s all about pitching.
New York’s bullpen should be O.K. this year. And, Girardi has shown a knack for finding solutions there when “Plan A” doesn’t work out. So, that leaves it to the starting pitching.
CC Sabathia should be fine – he’s a proven ace. And, Andy Pettitte will be Andy Pettitte – giving you 200 innings and winning half of his starts, thereabouts. That leaves it up to Burnett and Vazquez to round out the rotation. They both need to make 30 starts, throw 200 innings, and keep their ERA near league average or below. If they both cannot do that, then the Yankees are playing the season with one-half of a starting rotation…compared to the Red Sox and Rays who appear to have very good starting rotations this year. And, that’s a problem.