Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Good, Bad, Ugly and Pregame Notes (30 April 2008)

One month into the season, and it is still hard to get a clear picture as to where this Yankee team is headed.

On one hand, they have just escaped a mammoth, 18-of-20 on the road, April and will, at worst, be one game under .500. It's certainly not where a team wants to be, but it is much better than it could be.

Chien Ming Wang seems to have matured overnight, rounding the corner from 'very good' to 'ace'--not sure? Consider the 2-0 win against Tampa Bay, the 2-1 two-hitter against Boston, and the 1-0 shutout against Cleveland. Also consider the performance against Chicago--far from stellar, but the type of battle, grind-it-out start that is the hallmark of a good pitcher. He's already 5-0, with just one poor start.

Mariano Rivera looks like he is on his way to a career year--eight saves already, an infinite K-to-BB ratio, and an ERA of 0.00.

Melky Cabrera, the supposed 'throw in' for the Santana deal, is doing his best to say "thank you for not trading me" and, by all accounts, doing a very good job of it as well.

In fact, all the M guys seem to be perfomring well--Chien Ming, Mariano, Melky, Matsui, Molina...even Mike Mussina is giving the Yankees what they need when he's not pitching to Manny Ramirez.

On the other hand, there is no getting around the fact that Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy have been struggling. They--especially Phil--are young, and the struggles are to be expected, but that neither of them have a win or an ERA under 5.00 is not a good sign if the Yankees expect to contend this year.

The offense has been stagnant, largely unable to get the "big hit" when needed; Jason Giambi and Robinson Canò have been the most notable of those struggling and Canò has the second lowest batting average of all American League qualifiers, despite his home run last night. The Yankees are confident he will heat up, but such an extended slump has got to play with his psyche.

The biggest blow of all, however, are the injuries. Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Molina, Jorge Posada, Wilson Betemit and Brian Bruney have all missed or are missing considerable time with injuries--Brian Bruney, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez have all needed to go on the disabled list.

It's impossible to know how much of the injuries are due to the poor conditions the Yankees have played in, or to other reasons, but to say they will have an impact on the Yankees is an understatement. They will have an impact, when two guys who provided the center for the Yankee offense last year are out of the line up for an extened period and so many others are struggling.

That said, the situation could be a lot worse. The Yankees do have things going for them, and it would be foolish to ignore the positives, just as it would the challenges they face.


Andy Pettitte takes the mound tonight in a role that has become very familiar to him over the years--that of the "Yankee Stopper". He will go against Jeremy Bonderman, one of Detroits young pitchers.

If the Yankees win tonight, they have a chance at winning the series with the Tigers tomorrow. Ross Ohlendorf pitched three innings tonight, so if Pettitte gets in trouble, it's likely that Jonathan Albaladejo will be the long man.


  1. Rebecca you are good and creative!

    I still read your stuff, why not, your one of the few optimist on Lohud. Without you and a very few others, it would be reactionary/or a downer. I like your writing very much, you are very talented. You have a great empathy for the players and team. They make a lot of money for playing a kids game, but they are the best in the world. Baseball is a very humbling game, you fail much more then succeed. Phil/IPK are having a piece of humble pie, just as all those before them...they will get over it, or fall by the way side. Let's all hope the former! 27/08.

  2. I'm also glass half full at the end of April. My optimism is tempered, however, by the fact that I don't believe the current parity in the AL East will continue past the ASB. By that point, we need to be relatively injury free, or hitting well, or at the very least have a number 4 starter.

  3. It is early. Hopefuly the Yankees will stay close until the injured return and the starting rotation steps up. I still expect the Yanks to makethe playoffs.

  4. "Chien Ming Wang seems to have matured overnight, rounding the corner from 'very good' to 'ace'--not sure? Consider the 2-0 win against Tampa Bay, the 2-1 two-hitter against Boston, and the 1-0 shutout against Cleveland."

    You forgot to include Wang's other start against boston. Besides, until he does it in the post season he's not an ace. He's just a very good picture.