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Which Version of the Yankees is the Real One?



By Mike Silva ~ May 21st, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva, New York Yankees.

Just two weeks ago it seemed unlikely the Yankees would ever sweat this regular season. Yes, there would be a battle with Tampa for the division, but the loser would still comfortably fall into a Wild Card spot. One of the reasons I have been writing off the Red Sox was due to the fact I didn’t think they, or anyone else in the American League, could play at a 100 win pace with the Yankees.

Even after the Rays two game sweep of the Yanks, they are still on pace to win 99 games. It will be very hard to see Boston, Detroit, Minnesota, or anyone from the AL West come close to that number. However, the Yanks are still reaping the fruits of an 11-3 start, and have played .500 ball since. The injuries continue to mount: Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Johnson are all out. This has given an historic offense tons of soft spots throughout the lineup. The starting pitching that was so dominant predictably has come back down to earth and the bullpen has been an utter disappointment. You also have the slow starts by aging members of the core like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. So which version of the Yankees should we take seriously? The 11-3 juggernaut from early in the season or the pedestrian .500 team that we have seen in recent weeks?

Ironically, it’s been the bullpen that has hurt the Yanks more than the injuries. This is the same team that went into Boston and clubbed the Sox for 27 runs in two games. Offense, even without some of their opening day starters, has not been a problem. Each night you have to hold your breath when Joe Girardi signals for someone in relief. It’s unconscionable that 7 innings of one run ball on Tuesday wasn’t enough as Joba Chamberlain blew a four run lead. Even scarier is how teams are starting to figure out Mariano Rivera. If Rivera is like everyone else, well you get the point. Girardi hasn’t helped his cause with rigid rules and warming up key arms in blowout games. I have counted about three times they didn’t go to Chamberlain in games that got dicey. I still remember how I got mocked after they escaped with that Wednesday afternoon victory against the Orioles. Maybe I don’t look so irrational now.

I am in no way saying the Yankees are in trouble. They have been able to call on young players like Juan Miranda, Kevin Russo, Francisco Cervelli, and Mark Melancon to plug holes for injured players. No team can sustain injuries to 33% of its starting lineup and not feel the effects. Even more concerning is the play of Derek Jeter who today is a below league average offensive player. His average has dropped over fifty points in May. As for the starting pitching, no one believed Pettitte and Phil Hughes was going to pitch to a sub 2.00 ERA. Eventually they are going to need Javier Vazquez, but who knows if he can be counted on.

Instead of blowing away the American League as everyone predicted, the Yankees are treading water. For all the criticism of the Red Sox they still have unrealized upside and could win 88-90 games on a down year. Although Minnesota and Detroit will cancel each other out, they could still feast on the lesser teams in their division to be in the 90+ range as well.

So which version of the Yankees is for real? The .785 team of the first two weeks or the .500 bunch of recent days? Probably somewhere in the middle. You know where that leaves them? With the likes of Minnesota, Detroit, and Boston fighting for the Wild Card. At that point anything can happen.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to Which Version of the Yankees is the Real One?

  1. Stu Baron

    The Yankees are a good team, but they’re old, and in terms of predictions, they’ve had the advantage of the age-old mistake people make of overrating the previous season’s champion.

  2. Chris Silva

    Stu,

    I think the biggest shock the Yankees fans will come across is when the old players like Jeter, Posada, Mo, & Petitte are gone that they will never be able to replace those guys. There will be hard times in the Bronx when the day comes. Impossible to replace legends. The Yankees fans believe they will be good forever but they will see there downfall like everybody else. Every organization needs to rebuild at one point or another.

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