Whew! It's been many moons since I last posted a Top Ten Tuesday on the proper day (or at all), but for once I am here, coming atcha with some sweet Top Ten action.
The season is quickly getting closer to the finish line - the Yanks will play their 100th game tonight - and they're still rotting in the third place hole in the division. They've got a 4.5 game deficit to surmount and not much time to do it; they're going to need to really get things together to blaze ahead of the Rays and Sox. The problem? They've got a lot of holes in the roster at this time and often seem to be hanging on by a thread. I've got a few thoughts on what they'll need to do during these last few months in order to make it to the playoffs... ready?Top Ten Things the Yanks NEED if They Want to Make it Back to the Playoffs:
10) Jeter needs to get his average and OBP up. He's hitting well, but not as well as he usually does. Perhaps I'm being a bit greedy expecting him to hit over .300 again, but it sure would be a help.
9) They've still got 9 games to go against the Sox, and big wins would not only boost their spot in the standings (obv) but provide a hearty dose of confidence and momentum - beating the Sox always does.
8) They've also got 6 more games to play against those devilish Rays, and those are going to be must-win contests.
7) The offense needs to produce big time when the "filler starters" - Sir Sidney and Rasner - take the mound. Both of them are decent pitchers and can certainly keep the team in the game so long as the bats show up. Each of them is likely to give up at least 3 runs in the 6 innings they last each time they pitch, which puts a little extra pressure on the offense.
6) Keep hitting, Cano!
5) The bottom third of the order is currently pretty weak, with Melky, Gardner and Jo-Mo (see #3), and that's a pretty big issue at the moment. Everyone seems to think Gardner has the potential to hit a lot better than he has been (.170/.237/189) and Melky has shown glimmers of what he's capable of, but methinks it's unlikely those three will be even close to as productive as the top 6 in the lineup. If they can just get their collective average up to even .250 it would be a big improvement. The team can't win consistently with three automatic outs at the bottom of the lineup.
4) The bullpen has been surprisingly incredible - lights out, in fact - of late, and while I doubt they can keep their ERA under 2.00 for long, if they can just stay healthy and pitch at a 3.00 clip, the Yanks should be able to provide enough run support to hang onto their leads (or mount a comeback when they're behind).
3) Jo-Mo is going to need to start hitting. He's awesome behind the plate, throwing out potential steelers at nearly a 50% rate, but a .227 batting average and .266 OBP ain't going to cut it. If he could just get his average up to how Posada was hitting, about .265 or so, he'd actually be an upgrade over the injured Jorgie
. Seems unlikely, though. Let's cross our fingers for .240.
2) Can Matsui make it back from the DL? He opted not to have the surgery
his docs were advising, which doesn't seem like the best idea - the docs are the pros - but he knows his body and hopefully he can rehab successfully.
1) When Hughsie and/or I-Ken finally claw their way back to the majors, we need a few wins from them. Before they took up residence at the DL Resort and Casino they hadn't managed a single win - that's got to change. They are the ultimate "Get it TOGETHER!" boys.