Friday, August 10, 2012

No Girardi, No Problem

So right after I say it's time to be concerned, but not time to panic, the Yankees jump out to a 7-0 road lead on the Detroit Tigers. This included former Tiger Curtis Granderson hitting his 30th home run of the season. Having that lead and CC Sabathia on the mound should have made it an easy win.

It wasn't. CC got into trouble in the 6th and the 7th. This would not be another complete game effort from the big guy. Nor did David Robertson do well in the 7th. I think it may be time to get concerned about him.

Robertson allowed another run in the 8th before Boone Logan -- have they switched bodies? -- put the fire out, and Rafael Soriano pitched a strong 9th.

Yankees 12, Tigers 8. WP: Sabathia (12-3). LP: Anibal Sanchez (6-9).

While this was going on, it was Miami 13, New York 0. Nope, that's not Dolphins vs. Jets. It was Marlins vs. Mets at Pity Field.

Then, yesterday afternoon, these 2 proud old American League teams got into a tight one. In the top of the 2nd, the Yankees got runs on a Raul Ibanez triple, scoring Eric Chavez, and an Ichiro Suzuki single, scoring Ibanez.

But the Tigers scored 3 off Hiroki Kuroda in the bottom of the 5th. The go-ahead run scored on an Andy Dirks double. Quintin Berry scored, but Joe Girardi thought home plate umpire Tim Welke blew the call. They argued, and Welke tossed Girardi.

Hmmmm... This made Tony Pena, former Pittsburgh and Boston catcher, and Kansas City manager, and now Joe's bench coach, the manager for the rest of the game. Binder out. Intuition in.

In the top of the 8th, the Yankees got back-to-back home runs from Mark Teixeira and Chavez -- Teix's 21st of the season, Chavez's 12th. This produced the final score: Yankees 4, Tigers 3.

WP: Clay Rapada (3-0). SV: Rafael Soriano (27). LP: Joaquin Benoit (1-3).

So the Yanks got out of Detroit with a split against a tough team. This isn't great, but it is acceptable. If you win 2 out of every 3 home games (54-27), and roughly split your road games (41-40), that gives you 95 wins, which is usually enough to win the American League Eastern Division.

I checked: Since 1996, the first full, unaffected-by-strike season of the 3-division-plus-wild-card format, the average number of games won by the 2nd place team in the AL East is 92, meaning it takes 93 wins to win the Division. And, with a .586 winning percentage, the Yankees are currently on a pace to win 95 games.

The Yankees are 65-46. The Baltimore Orioles are 5 1/2 games back, the Tampa Bay Rays 6 -- both 6 back in the loss column. The Boston Red Sox (a.k.a. The Scum) are 11 games back, and the Toronto Blue Jays are 12 back -- both 12 back in the loss column.

Numbers to eliminate these teams and give the Yankees the Division Title: Sox 38, Jays 39, O's and Rays both 45.

Every team has to deal with injuries.  The Yankees have done this without...

* Mariano Rivera for almost the entire season.

* Brett Gardner for almost the entire season.

* Michael Pineda for the entire season.

* Andy Pettitte for several weeks.

* Alex Rodriguez for several weeks.

* David Robertson for a few weeks.

Show me another team that can lose its 2 best relief pitchers, 2 projected starters (really, though, if you think about it, just a single starting spot), and their starting 3rd baseman and left fielder, all for the respective times cited, and see if they can be on a pace to win 95 games.

The Yankees have left Detroit, and, tonight, they start a series in Toronto against those pesky Blue Jays.  I call them the Pesky Blue Jays because, whether they're good or they're bad (and, the last few years, they have been bad), they always seem to give the Yankees trouble.

Tonight: Freddy Garcia vs. Ricky Romero.

Tomorrow afternoon: Ivan Nova vs. Aaron Laffey.

Sunday night: Phil Hughes vs. J.A. Happ, whom you might remember with the Phillies in the 2009 World Series. (He was with the Phillies in their World Championship season the year before, but pitched in just 1 postseason game, and not in the World Series.)

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