Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Melkman Delivers, But What About the Pitchers?

Bottom of the 14th, and Melky Cabrera, whom some of us had given up for dead -- and who looks strange wearing Number 53 instead of the 28 he's had thus far, why would you move up to a higher number? -- hits one out off Dan Giese, whom some of us wanted us to keep, for a two-run walkoff home run. Yankees 9, Oakland Athletics 7.

This followed three and a third scoreless innings of relief by Jose Veras. That was good to see. But, again, CC Sabathia didn't have it, allowing 6 runs in 6 innings.

A.J. Burnett has been fantastic. Andy Pettitte, for the moment, has found the fountain of youth. But C.C. has not come as advertised except in his second start, Chien-Ming Wang has fallen apart, Joba Chamberlain has been inconsistent, and the bullpen, oy vey...

Mariano Rivera has remained the Silent Assassin. Brian Bruney and Jonathan Albaledejo have settled down after tough beginnings. Veras, Phil Coke, Edwar Ramirez, all consistently inconsistent (as Yogi Berra might say). And Damaso Marte, the designated get-lefties-out guy, has been hideous. Then, of course, there's the very effective reliever named Nick Swisher.

Look, the bats have not been the problem at the start of this season. Melky, Swisher, Robinson Cano and Johnny Damon are all batting over .300. Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada have been solid. Mark Teixeira hasn't hit much, but when he has it's gotten runs home, and besides his fielding has been super. Hideki Matsui is the disappointment as far as hitting is concerned, and he's been hurt again. What has happened to this once very durable player?

No, I'm not bothered by the hitting or the defense. It's the pitching. It hasn't worked.

Yes, I know, it's early. The hitters, all over baseball, are usually ahead of the pitchers by this point. And, yes, unlike the last three seasons, the Yankees have not gotten off to a dreadful start. They're only a game and a half out of first, one in the loss column. So far, this is not a time to worry.

But it is a time for concern. The pitching, starting and relief alike, has got to get better. Today is a day off, and then... Boston. That little green pinball machine off Kenmore Square. And the Red Sox have the exact same record as the Yankees, 9-6, also just 1 back of Toronto in the loss column. They must be dealt with, and harshly, lest the as-yet-appealing Josh "Super Punk" Beckett decide to be a headhunting twat again. Or any other Boston pitcher, for that matter.

Friday night at 7: Joba against Jon Lester. If Joba is on his game, this could be a great matchup.

Saturday afternoon at 4 (the Fox Game of the Week, of course): A.J. against Beckett. If both decide to be pitchers instead of headhunters (shouldn't be a problem for A.J.), it could be another great pitching matchup.

Sunday night at 8 (The ESPN Game of the Week, natch): Pettitte vs. Justin Masterson.

Yanks vs. Sox. The Hundred Year War. Let's get it on, ya Chowdahead Bastards!

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