Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Truth About Pinstripes

a.k.a: The blog that Yankee fans can neither handle nor dispute.

Hey kids.
I'm gonna take the risk of angering Yankee fans. Not that I care if they're pissed; it's just that they get all hot and bothered whenever somebody bad-mouths their team. Yankee fans don't care if they're wrong. They consider it blasphemy tp point out the shortcomings of their blessed Bombers. So any Yankeefan response to this will be considered null and void because of their bias, but the fact remains:

There you have it. There is absolutely no reason why the Yankees cannot dominate the AL East. Here's why

Yankee fans are so quick to bring up the lame and tired excuse (and Joe Torre has been guilty of this as well) of injuries being the rhyme and reason to their failure to dominate the AL East, but in this case, it's a sorry excuse, and it's not even an accurate assesment.

So committed to this excuse are they, that Yankee fans will admit that their starting pitching is shaky, and their bullpen, at best, leaves a lot to be desired, but their focus remains on these injuries. Let's examine exactly who is gone...

Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield. Granted, they are both essential cogs to the Yankee offense, and constitute the corner outfield positions. Now let's look at the rest of the Yankee lineup, starting with the infield.
Alex Rodriguez (who's slumping, but that's synonymous with choking) at 3rd, Derek Jeter (El Capitan, Mr. Yankee, Mr. New York, Mr. Clutch, hell, Mr. Everything except October) at shortstop, Jason Giambi (who is still a major threat despite kicking the juice) at 1st, and Robinson Cano (who is the least known of this bunch, but he's hitting .324 and has reached base safely in 9 of his last 10 games, including hits in 8 of those 9) at second.
If you throw in Jorge Posada at catcher, the Yankees have themselves with an infield that, offensively speaking, any team in the majors would kill to have.
There is not a team in all of Major League Baseball that can boast an infield like that.
Add to that Johnny Damon in center and Bernie Williams (who is playing more this season than he ever could have hoped) is putting up great numbers. With Bernie as the DH, the Yankees have a starting lineup with 7 (out of 9) of the best offensive players a team can field.

My oh my, imagine if Sheffield and Matsui were both healthy. The Yankees as a team would be among the league leaders in runs scored, surely? They would, wouldn't they?
Umm, they already are; sans Sheffield and Matsui. Surely the Turzman jests, no?
Not even close.

With 404 runs scored, the Bombers are second in all the majors in that category, behind the White Sox.
If you take a minute to look at team ERA, you'll see that the Yankees are 4th in the American League at 4.30. These numbers are usually indicators of a great, dominating team that's running away with a division.

But one need only look at the AL East standings to see that this Yankee juggernaut finds itself in the very embarrasing position of 2nd place, 2 games behind the hated, arch-rival Boston Red Sox. Not only that, but the new-and-improved Toronto Blue Jays are only 1.5 games behind the Yankees and as of today, are winners of 2 straight and have been keeping pace with the Yankees for 10 games now.

The Red Sox, winners of 6 games in a row, are starting to make a push to run away from the Bombers, but this push should have began at the beginning of June. The Sox should have been salivating during the Yankee woes in late April and the most of June, but they instead brought their killer instinct into question, and the Yanks, as inefficient as they have been this season, can never be counted out.

It's time for Yankee fans to stop crying foul and playing the injury card. Let me make sure I'm crystal-clear about this:
the corner outfield is the least of Yankee problems. Worry about your pitching.

Mike Mussina has, surprisingly, carried this team on his crooked back. Randy Johnson has pitched better of late, but the Big Unit has moved over for the Old and Slow Unit.
After those two, the Yanks have a lost starting rotation. You want proof? Chien-Ming Wang is the most consistent starter, after Mussina. There's your proof.
Jaret Wright will give them, at most, 5 innings each start, if they're lucky. Unacceptable. Shawn Chacon stinks. Aaron Small is gone, and Carl Pavano still hasn't shown up (he's the injury-card Ace of Spades for Yankee fans).

Do I have to mention the bullpen? I'd rather not, it's so bad. Joe Torre is so desperate to get Mariano Rivera into games that he's not even waiting until the 9th inning to bring him in. 8th inning entires are so commonplace for Rivera lately that it's just a matter of time before his arm falls off, or something breaks down. Let's not forget, just 3 weeks ago, Rivera strained his back while tying his shoes (!?!?).
The Yankee bullpen situation is so bad that the delay of Octavio Dotel's return post Tommy John surgury is seen as a major setback! Oh lord, it must SUCK to be a Yankee fan these days.
"We can't wait for the return of mighty, mighty Octavio!" Disgraceful.

Stop crying, Yankee fans, and start worrying. If you don't win the AL East, you're not going to the playoffs, because the wildcard is out of your reach, thanks to Detroit, but you'll have nobody to blame except your precious Yankees.