I’ve been saying it all year, wayyy before they ran off six straight wins and 9 of their last 11: the New York Yankees will make the playoffs.
Write it down. Remember where you heard it.
A lame prediction, no?
Not really. Most people I talk to don’t think the Yanks have enough.
And that may be true – to an extent. They might not be able to catch the Red Sox, who sit comfortably ahead this June 12, 9 ½ games up. But they are certainly contenders for the Wild Card, where Detroit sits about five games up.
And why, you ask?
Frankly, they’re just too nice. You forget…these are the NEW YORK YANKEES! They have unlimited resources, a huge payroll to begin with and still field a team of all-stars. Bobby Abreu is hitting, A-Rod is hot again, Posada is back, Damon is settling in nice at DH, and Jeter is, well, Jeter.
The offense is rolling – as if that’s a surprise – and the bullpen is beginning to take shape, with Scott Proctor the go-to guy for one-run games, close games blowouts and any other scenario possible. As of Tuesday, Proctor had appeared in a whopping 33 games.
But what New York’s resurgence hinges on, of course, is its starting pitching. When Wang, Pavano and Mussina were all out with injuries, it was Pettitte, Igawa (LOL), and a bunch of guys named DeSalvo, Rasner, Wright and Karstens.
Pavano (arm surgery) and Igawa (suckitis) will never be back this year. But with Moose and Wang healthy and the addition of roger Clemens, you’re looking at a five-man rotation of Pettitte, Wang, Clemens, Mussina and someone keeping the seat warm for Phillip Hughes.
That might not be a great rotation, but it’s pretty damn good. Better than people think, at least. Pettitte has been dirty this year. I’m bet on Moose bouncing back. Wang is always serviceable. Hughes was in the midst of spinning a gem against Texas when he pulled his hammy. Everything pretty much hinges on Clemens. If he’s real good, the Yankees will be real good. If he’s bad, the Yanks will be bad. It’s really that simple.
That five-man staff is going to give you quality starts. Hell even right now, with Clemens only one-start deep and Hughes out for awhile, the Yankees have a better team ERA than Detroit (4.58 to 4.61), a lower opponent’s BA (.264 compared to .273) and less runs against (291, 307).
With those numbers only poised to improve—how much worse could Mussina be? – look for the Yankee starters to pick up more and more wins, especially with that vaunted offense scoring like it can.
That offense does have one hole at first base. But Todd Helton, Mark Texiera and Shea Hillenbrand could all be available. The Yanks will surely shore up that hole.
I’m not worried about the division, but is anyone else a little nervous of the Spankees in the playoffs??