Games 23-33: Yankees
White Sox 7, Yankees 6
Indians 6, Yankees 4
Indians 4, Yankees 3
Yankees 1, Indians 0
Yankees 5, Indians 2
Tigers 6, Yankees 4
Tigers 6, Yankees 2
Tigers 8, Yankees 4
Yankees 5, Mariners 1
Yankees 6, Mariners 1
Yankees 8, Mariners 2 (in progress)
Record: 16-16 (17-16?)
Having been away so long already, I decided I would wait until the Yankees actually won a game before I returned. That happened Friday night, with the Yankees besting the Mariners 5-1. But, as it turned out, I had a pretty nice little Saturday planned, you know, going to Home Depot, buying some wallpaper, some flooring, stuff like that. I wanted to get to Bed, Bath, & Beyond, but alas, didn't have enough time. The Yankees actually won again Saturday, 6-1, so maybe I should just stay away all together...
Nah...the MLC Brain Trust would never accept that, so I'm back, with a 33 Game Wrap-Up I'm calling The Good, the Bad and the Uggla (yep, I've resorted to stealing from myself). Enjoy...and see you in June (I kid, I kid).
Chien-Ming Wang is 6-0. He has a 3.00 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and .225 BAA. He's the Sgt. Hulka of this rotation, hell, of this whole team. Wang's win on Friday night was the 11th time in a row that the Yankees had won with C.M. pitching after a loss. Shit, he's the Jeff Speakman of this club...he's even striking guys out this year (32K in 45IP). It sucks for him that he basically needs to go 20-3 for this team (as currently constituted) to have any chance. Good luck my friend, and remember, enough with the pictures already, it's just a parking lot.
Hideki Matsui (.317/.408./.481) and Johnny Damon (.290/.394./.533) have been the leaders of a sluggish offense beset by injuries all over the diamond. It also appears someone reminded Bobby Abreu it's a contract year...he has responded accordingly (.303/.356./.451). And once again Derek Jeter is as dreamy on the field as off...
Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera have been lights out - unfortunately, I'm not sure how long Rivera will have Joba as a running mate back there. Rivera's pitched 12 innings so far this year. He's struck out 12, is 8 for 8 in save opps, and hasn't allowed an ER yet. Not too shabby. Not to be outdone, Joba has struck out 14 in 12 IP and only given up 2 ER. His K/9 is 10.22. And it's rumored the simple sight of him warming up in the bullpen gives Hank Steinbrenner seizures.
I mentioned this to Rob the other night, but as a Yankees fan one major positive is that they are always on the boob tube (Yes, it's a positive for me, and yet another reason for most of America to hate them. Get over it). Be it ESPN, Fox, WGN, Comcast or UHF Channel 62, I have been able to see over half their games without the Extra Innings package the rest of the MLC contributors have.
The return of former Yankee OF Bobby Murcer to the booth after having a brain biopsy a month ago (in December 2006 he had surgery to remove a brain tumor). Thankfully, the biopsy came back cancer free. He called the game Friday night. Sadly, I am not sure many people realize what a good player Murcer was in his 17 year career. Me, I love him because of his career-long feud with that cheater Gaylord Perry - I found this on Wikipedia and it made me laugh quite a bit:
"Murcer had some fun with Gaylord; he once caught a fly for the last out of an inning and spit on the ball before tossing it to Perry. Another time he sent Perry a gallon of lard."
As this guy once said, this is like deja vu all over again. I know better than to bitch and moan this early in the year as the Yankees struggle. Why, you ask? Just check out the numbers below:
2007: Started 21-29, Ended at 94-68 and in the playoffs
2006: Started 11-10, Ended at 97-65 and in the playoffs
2005: Started 11-19, Ended at 95-67 and in the playoffs
2004: Started 11-11, Ended at 101-61 and in the playoffs
Soooo, you won't find me on the ledge, ready to throw in the towel...we all know it's a marathon, not a sprint. Despite the .500 record and lackluster play thus far, NY is just three back of Robert's Red Sox with roughly 130 games to go. Things could be much, much worse...which gets us to...
Robinson Cano is at .157/.218./.261. He has only 15 hits the entire year (and only 8 XBH). It sure would be nice if someone could figure out what the fuck is wrong with him.
[Editor's Note: Cano just hit a home run. I take full credit]
Morgan Ensberg is simply stealing money at this point ($1.75 million to be exact). I long for the days of Luis Sojo and Miguel Cairo filling in at third. Ensberg's licorice bat has just 1 XBH in 55 ABs. I don't care if Wilson Betemit comes off the DL wearing an eye patch (Saaarsgaaaard), please bench Ensberg and play Betemit. I'm begging you.
Consistently inconsistent and mediocre (seems to be a theme around these parts):
Most Games over .500 (2) AND Most Games under .500 (2)
Longest Winning Streak (3) AND Longest Losing Streak (3)
Hank Steinbrenner - It's a shame I didn't get this post up Friday as planned, because Hank managed to open his mouth once again before I completed the post. This time, he actually sounded rational, and disappointed. Hank, we're all disappointed in what has transpired so far, but I do hope you believe your own statement that the team will not panic and rush Joba into the rotation. Now, give it two more weeks of .500 play, and Bad Hank is bound to appear - I can only assume it will be to tell Cashman to start Chamberlain immediately or else he's canned.
It's real simple, and falls into two categories: pitching and injuries. How much time do we have?
Pitching: Other than the aforementioned Wang, the Yankees pitching has been adequate at best (Hi Andy and Moose!) and downright atrocious at worst (Oh, Kyle/LaTroy, got a call for you...and tell the kids we want to talk to them after they finish their homework). The two pups inserted into the rotation have had a rough 2008, to say the least. Phil Hughes is lucky enough to fall into both "Uggla" categories, pitching like a total donkey (0-4 with a 9.00 ERA) and then landing on the the DL the other day with a cracked rib. As I typed this post today, Ian Kennedy (0-2, 8.53 ERA) was demoted to the minors, with Darrel Rasner (4-0 with a 0.87 ERA in five outings at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) being called up to start the finale against the Mariners. And, AND, the Yankees are apparently going with a four-man rotation the next 10 days or so. Anyone seen my rosary?
[Editor's Note: Rasner just threw 6 innings, giving up only 2 runs. Let's hope he's Aaron Small Redux (wow, is that what it's come to?)]
Injuries: Now, I am smart enough to not belabor this point too much, as every team every year gets hits by the injury bug - hell, just around these parts Rob's club started the year without Beckett and that asshat Schilling, Nick's Phils are hanging in without Rollins and Whit's Metropolitans once again lost Papier Mache Martinez to the DL. But I've got to say, losing Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez within days of each other to the DL is a big blow, especially the Posada injury. Zeppo Molina behind the plate for six weeks I might be able to handle defensively, but his every at-bat is cringe-worthy. At least Rodriguez should be back after the requisite 15 days. The other crushing DL loss might shock some, but Brian Bruney looked like he could be the perfect 7th inning guy for this club, meaning Joba and/or Rivera would not need to be overextended in mid-summer games because Girardi doesn't trust the gristle in the pen. Basically, the Yankees need to tread water until they have their full complement of players ready to contribute, and hope that they can piece together yet another hot second half and carry themselves into the playoffs. But man is that a long way off.
Well lookee here, 8-2 Yanks right now...OK boys, carry on...