Considering the state that the Yanks are currently in - a record 2 games under .500, 8 games behind the Red Sox, 3 starters on the DL, a bone spur bothering the DH - it would be easy for us fans to let anxiety get the best of us and fall into an unnecessary pessimistic melancholy. But be cool, my babies! Don't let yourself fall into that trap! There are 126 games to go and there's no reason the Yankees can't spring back to life and run away with the division. Give your bitten-to-the-nub fingernails a rest and read these 10 delightful reasons why we all have nothing to worry about*:
10. Cano, Damon, and Abreu still need to break out. Each one of those three is in his own personal slump, but don't expect any of them to stay this way for long. Cano was thisclose to a batting title last year, Abreu gets on base like a fiend, and Damon can easily hit .290 once he gets rolling, so as long as those kids get in their zone the Yanks will be able to breathe a bit easier.
9. The Red Sox are really not that great. Yes, I know they have crushed the Yanks thus far this year, and their record is certainly much better than New York's. I can't discount the team's talent as a whole, but it seems to me that much of their winning has come courtesy of good luck and hot streaks. Dice-K, who we are all supposed to be incredibly frightened of, has proven himself to be a solid, steady pitcher, but not exactly a Tom Seaver in the making. JD Drew is hot right now, but like his distant cousin Carl Pavano, I have a feeling there are injuries in his future. Crisp and Pena leave much to be desired, and if Manny doesn't heat up soon "Manny being Manny" will mean "hitting .250 and slugging under .500".
8. Darrell Rasner and Matt Desalvo have shown us that even when our entire pitching staff is in shambles, there is hope in our farm. These 2 kids have 3.28 and 1.98 ERAs, respectively, and neither has broken down under the pressure yet. It is an amazing comfort to know that the Yanks have reserves like Rasner and Desalvo available to come up to the show with talent and maturity when our injury lists starts bending under its own weight.
7. Jorge Posada is out of control! If this man was on any other team, he would be a superstar, but he tends to get lost in the Jeter-Arod-Mariano-Etc-Etc-Etc shuffle in New York. He is currently hitting .365 with 21 RBI, and he can throw out would-be base-steelers as well as any of his younger counterparts. What's more, Jorgie comes through in the clutch - he has a lifetime batting average of .349 when runners are in scoring position and .857 when the bases are loaded.
6. Derek Jeter is...Derek Jeter. It's really no surprise that he is doing so well (.375 average, 20 RBI and just 13 strike-outs), but the fact that we have come to expect this performance does not make it any less valuable.
5. Mariano will be just fine. I've heard a few nervous Nellies panicking about Mo's 7.11 ERA or the homers he has given up, but I personally don't put any stock into these early failures. Mo has been one of the most reliable pitchers in Yankees history, and I don't envision that changing this year.
4. We've seen the future, and his name is Phil Hughes. It really is a shame that PH strained his hammy during his second ever start for the Yankees, but what we saw that day was enough to make us all bust out our construction paper and craft some lovely countdown-chains to help us get through the time he's on the DL. Depending on the state of the rotation when Hughes returns he may be sent back to AAA for more seasoning, but I have little doubt that we will be seeing him again this season.
3. The Rocket is ours. Roger's decision to come to the Yankees rather than the Astros or the Sox is going to do the Yanks a world of good. During the last 3 years that he spent on a similar minimal schedule, he went 40-18, gave up 33 homers, and struck out 505. Not only will his presence make the Yanks rotation infinitely better, but it means that our batters won't have to face him in a Red Sox uniform!
2. A-Rod is in a prove-it-to-us phase, and whether he stays or goes at the end of the year we are getting some great work out of him. His numbers are amazing and his attitude has definitely improved; he seems to be somewhat enjoying himself in the Bronx this year. While I'd like to say that all this ensures that he will not opt out at the end of the year, he still may choose to flee - - but as I said, let's worry about that later, and for now just enjoy his help on the field and at bat.
1. Doug Mienkicantspellhisname is just a nice person and perhaps a good luck charm. He was, after all, integral (by catching that last out) to the Red Sox 2004 World Series win, so who's to say we won't be seeing him snag a ball for out 3 in game 7 in October? Plus, he really is a nice guy.
* By "nothing", I of course mean "nothing serious yet". If the situation hasn't improved by this time in August, you may be reading an entirely different post, one entitled "10 Ways the Yankees Have Let Down the Yankees Chick in 2007".
Labels: a-rod support, happy time, injuries, jeter jeter pumpkin eater, red sox rivalry, signings