Remember when the New York Yankees had the AL East all wrapped up? It seems like just yesterday that the Bombers were 10 games up and people were talking about their magic number. Heck here they are on July 16th coming out of the All-Star break at 54-34 with a MLB leading Power Ranking.
New York came into Wednesday tied for first with the Baltimore Orioles after giving up that 10-game lead and Wednesday’s 6-4 victory over Tampa Bay Rays combined with the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4 victory over Baltimore puts the Yankees back up a full game on the Orioles and 2.5 games ahead of the Rays. If you are a Yankee fan though, this is truly too close for comfort.
Last week when Mark Teixeira went down I went on the air and suggested that it may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back and that the mighty Yankees might not only not win the AL East, but that there was a legitimate possibility that even with two Wild Card spots, they might not make the playoffs at all. “You idiot!” “You’re a moron!” “You have no clue!” These were just some of the nicer correspondences I received from readers and radio listeners….
Au contraire! Before tonight’s game against the Tampa, pundits were now writing that the Yankees may be on the brink of a historic collapse. Ya think! According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees have become only the third team to blow a 10-game division lead since the six-division format started in 1994. That’s not exactly a positive stat.
Consider some of these other non positive facts…
- The Yankees entered Wednesday night’s game at 76-59, tied with the Orioles who had given up 19 more runs on the year than they have scored (RS 581 – RA 600).
- The Yankees’ position player average age is 32.7 years, which is the oldest in franchise history. It’s not like they are the Florida Marlins either. We’re talking about an old franchise. They’ve been the Yankees since 1913 and they were the Highlanders before that. To clarify, we are talking the oldest position player team ever for arguably the most historic and successful franchise in all of sport. No, check that, not arguably, literally. There’s no arguing that point. Not even in a Monty Python skit!
- The Yankees are simply too dependent on the home run. When it happens it’s a beautiful thing, but it’s just too hard to count on as a matter of routine. As Joel Sherman pointed out in the New York Post on Wednesday, the team leader in steals is A-Rod with 11. HE’S 37!
- One of the players who you would expect stolen bases from, Curtis Granderson, only has eight! Last year in his MVP campaign he had 25. The guy has 34 HRs but only 79 RBI. 43% of his RBI are himself! Wednesday’s lineup for the Yanks had Russell Martin batting .195 coming into the game hitting 5th and Granderson .232 coming in batting 6th. Not exactly what I would call “protection” for A-Rod….
If you’re a Yankee fan and want to look at the glass half full, consider the fact that you could be a Boston Red Sox fan…
Here’s an interesting statistic. Coming into Wednesday night’s game the Yankees were 19-21 with the newly acquired Ichiro in the lineup (He’ll be 39 next month… see the trend?) and he’d played in the second-most losses in the AL this season. Between the Mariners and the Yankees Ichiro had played in 75 defeats to 76 for the Twins’ Joe Mauer. Don’t get me started on Mauer… Has there ever been a higher paid Punch and Judy hitter? The guy is Rod Carew in catcher’s gear. At least Carew could run when he was young….