In late July I was growing tired of MLBlogs. Feeling pressed to post every day was getting old. So I took some time off. I went on vacation for two weeks. A new semester started. My best friend got married. The Yankees have been kicking ***. Let’s look back to those bygone days when I was posting at least once a day: A-Rod had a mere 35 homeruns. The Yankees trailed by 6.5 games. Their chances of making the postseason sat at a dismal 30%.
Now, however, the date is September 19 and much has changed for the Yankees. You know all of the changes, so let’s get right to the good stuff:
1 1/2 games.
That should really be all I need to say, but given my extended hiatus, I think I should say more. A sweep of the Orioles is nice. It’s even better to see the boys win a close one. the offense had a predictable off night after blasting 12 runs last night. But the pitching continued to be superb, especially Andy Pettitte, who threw 7 2/3 of 1-run ball. And Mo was his usual self, pretending that he was a little shaky and then getting the job done when the chips were down. I bet he goes home and watches Yankees Encore and laughs at all of the nervous-looking people they show in the stands. I bet he has that kind of sick sense of humor.
Speaking of awesome pitching, I haven’t had a chance to say Joba is awesome. Joba is FREAKING awesome. I love the kid. I love his energy, his fist pumping, the hysterical look he gets on his face when celebrating a homerun. Absolutely love the kid. I haven’t been this excited about a new guy since I watched Derek Jeter on opening day in 1996. Yes, I’m more excited about Joba than even My Boy Melky! I’ve requested a Joba Jersey as a present. And I don’t like jerseys.
Another change since I last posted is the Yankee control of the wild card. After tonight’s win, the Yanks hold a 5 1/2 game lead. With just 10 games to play, I would think that the lead is pretty secure. There’s almost no doubt that the Yankees are on their way to the postseason once again.
Since I’ve mentioned the playoffs…after watching baseball for quite some time, and paying close attention to both New York and Boston in recent weeks, I have to say that the Boston Red Sox don’t have much of a chance in 7 (or 5, for that matter) game series against a top notch team like LAACADERF, Cleveland, or New York.
Reason number 1: The Red Sox offense is somewhere between inconsistent and nonexistant. They can blame it on Manny’s absence or whatever all they want, but it’s been that way for quite some time. There was a small surge in late August/early september, but other than that it hasn’t been reliable since the end of May.
Reason number 2: Also unreliable since late May is Red Sox starting pitching. Schilling has been in and out with injuries. Matsuzaka, suspect early on, has become downright unpredictable. Josh Beckett, fully deserving of the AL Cy Young Award, has been their only consistent starter. He’s actually been better in the second half than he was in the first. But as the Yankees have shown in the past (last year) you don’t win much with only one solid starting pitcher.
Reason number 3: Do the Red Sox even have a bullpen anymore? Gagne certainly doesn’t count. Okajima is currently being "rested"…probably because his arm has pretty much fallen off and has been pitching horribly. Applebottom is still alright…although he’s blown two games against the Yankees and gave up the Grand Slam tonight. Is he also showing signs of wear (again)? even if his struggles are a fluke, if Gagne and Okajima can’t get the ball to him it doesn’t matter.
Reason number 4: The Red Sox, despite their record, are an average baseball team. And, as is their custom, they are choking down the stretch. I’ve seen comments elsewhere that say the Red Sox aren’t choking, the Yankees are simply playing insane baseball. to some extent that’s true…the Yankees are unbelievably hot right now. But…for a team that was the next coming of the 1998 Yankees in May, I’d say they’ve choked. But, then again, if an average baseball team plays average are they actually choking? or just being themselves? Since May 30th, the Red Sox are 54-48. that’s a .529 winning percentage. Pretty darn average if you ask me. That’s not Manny’s "injury." That’s not a minor slump. That has nothing to do with the Yankees playing so well. That’s mediocrity plain and simple. As a comparison, a team playing close to that level for the whole season thus far: the Colorado Rockies (.526). And they’re barely still in the race for the NL Wild Card.
Now, finally for tonight, remember the Yankees playoff chances that were at 30% on July 25? Those chances now stand at 99.61%.