Monday, September 16, 2013

Where Is Everybody?

Note from 5 years later: When I first wrote this post, on October 15, 2013, I did not know how to backdate a post. I do now. So I'm backdating the ones that should have been originally dated September 16 to October 14, 2013.


The technical difficulties I had with appear to be over. So I can go back to using this version of the blog.

So I'm transferring the entries I had there over to here... an entire month's worth. Here's the first one, dated September 16:


When last we met (or so to speak), on the afternoon of Saturday, September 7 -- 9 days ago if you're scoring at home -- the Yankees were 9 games behind the Boston Red Sox (a.k.a. The Scum) for the AL East title, and 2 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the 2nd AL Wild Card.

Now, the Yankees are 12 1/2 games out of 1st place, officially eliminated from the Division race after being swept by the Sox this past weekend, and 3 games out of the Wild Card berths. So? Two and a half games back, three games, what's the difference?

The difference is, on September 7, there were 20 games left in the regular season. Now, there are only 12 games left.

If the Yankees had a completely healthy starting 9, this is what their lineup last night would have looked like:

11 LF Brett Gardner
2 SS Derek Jeter
14 CF Curtis Granderson
13 3B Alex Rodriguez
24 2B Robinson Cano
25 1B Mark Teixeira
55 DH Lyle Overbay
31 RF Ichiro Suzuki
29 C Francisco Cervelli

A decent enough lineup, right? Of course, this fully-healthy lineup presumes that the trading-deadline deal to obtain Alfonso Soriano would not have been necessary. Nor would the wavier-wire pickup of Mark Reynolds.

Instead, here is what the Yankee lineup did look like at Fenway Park last night:

14 CF Curtis Granderson
13 DH Alex Rodriguez
24 2B Robinson Cano
12 LF Alfonso Soriano
55 1B Lyle Overbay
3B Mark Reynolds
31 RF Ichiro Suzuki
35 SS Brendan Ryan
19 C Chris Stewart

In other words, only 3 guys (Grandy, Robbie and Ichiro) were in their usual positions, and only the catcher was in the usual spot in the order, and it wasn't the usual catcher.

This wasn't "Who's On First," it was "Who's at short, who's catching, why's he DH'ing, why's he at first, and where is everybody?"

Boone Logan has blown game after game. So has Joba Chamberlain. So has Phil Hughes. Adam Warren, who got off to such a great start, has fallen apart. CC Sabathia looks like he's run out of gas. This may also be the case with Hiroki Kuroda. Ivan Nova pitched really well for much of this season, but got rocked in his last start. The only Yankee starter really getting the job done lately is Andy Pettitte -- and he's 41 years old. And David Robertson has been a bit shaky lately, making him look very much not like a viable successor to Mariano Rivera.

Granderson is back, but he's been out most of the season. So has Jeter. So has Teixeira. So was A-Rod. So has Kevin Youkilis, who never really got a chance to show Yankee Fans that they should stop hating him from his Sox days.

If the Yankees' current winning percentage of .527 holds (a pace for 85 wins), or if it rises to anything less than .540 (87 wins), it will be the worst Yankee season in 21 years -- since 1992, the last time we didn't have a winning season (76-86). And yet, we're still only 3 games out of the Wild Card.

As an old friend would have said, "I tell ya, Murcer, it's unbelievable. Holy Cow."

Tomorrow night, the Yankees begin a 3-game road series, against those pesky Toronto Blue Jays. Projected starting pitchers, with the Yanks' listed first:

Tuesday: Pettitte vs. R.A. Dickey.
Wednesday: Hughes vs. J.A. Happ.
Thursday: Kuroda vs. Todd Redmond.

This has been a very hard season, by Yankee standards anyway. But we can still make something of it. The "World Series or bust" mentality doesn't really apply, since, from the middle of the last off-season, when roster adjustments for our team and others made our 2013 situation look bleak before anyone even considered heading down to spring training.

Hardly anybody expected the Yankees to make the Playoffs. That, with 12 games to go, they still have a chance to do so is incredible. I'd say it's "amazing," but that's a Mets word.

Speaking of the Mets, how are they doing? Oh, the usual, 15 games under .500, 22 games out of 1st place, 16 1/2 games out of the 2nd NL Wild Card, eliminated from both the NL East race and the Wild Card race a while ago. Yes, Yankee Fans, it's been rough, but we still have a chance to confound the experts and make the Playoffs.  The Mets?

As Bono sang, "Well, tonight, thank God it's them, instead of you!"

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