Friday, March 29, 2013
"To see the universe in a grain of sand/ And eternity in an hour:" My predictions for the 2013 Yankees
Posted by el duque at 7:17 AM
1. April is strong. The scrap heap Yankees are long on scrap and short on - well - "heap," finishing that wordplay, despite lack of meaning. Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells, Ben Francisco, Brennan Boesch and Cookie Rojas - (they coax him from retirement) - bring experienced professionalism and do something the team couldn't do last year: Hit with runners on base. Our starting pitching carries us. We're leading the league on March 31, and the Yankiverse coos like a fat pigeon. Jeter will be back soon, at full speed. The Tonight Show will be back in NYC. All will be right with the world.
2. May is a disaster. This isn't a prediction. It's a fact of life. The Yankees always tank in May. The new car smell of the season fades, and the clubhouse hasn't settled into the long haul. This is the month when fissures show up in the concrete. Nunez throws away a few games, Gards runs into a wall, Cervelli's bat disappears, and the angry bloggers - led by Alphonso - start railing about the delayed Mayan apocalypse. Jeet returns, but his range is compromised. Youkilis' body is barking. We fall into third, but the AL East remains a jumble.
3. June is a crap shot. We are long on crap and short on - oh, hell, why not? - "shot." Grandy is back, but which Grandy? The five-tool gamer of 2011, or the Dave Kingman of 2012, whose only reaction to an overshift is swing for the fence? Tex is still rehabbing, and everybody cringes with each swing. Pineda is throwing in Scranton, getting walloped. (Jesus Montero is hitting .300, and Alphonso mentions it every day.) Youkilis is out, and Cashman has heroically scoured the waiver wires for bodies. Late in the month, Mariano struggles, launching a new worry, the darkest fears yet.
4. July is murder. Tex and Grandy return, but a fresh wave of injuries destroys morale. Sabathia, Mariano, Andy, Youkilis, Ichiro and Jeter are on the sidelines, and most fans have never heard of their replacements. A-Rod is suspended for 50 games, wiping out his season. He will never again play for the Yankees. Girardi does a masterful job, but at the all-star break, we fall six games behind for the final Wild Card spot, and it's now or never. Rumors are Cashman is looking to trade a package of prospects for a pitcher, and debate rages over what should be done.
5. August is the house-cleaning. The trades happen after a painful losing streak. Grandy goes first. Then Youkilis, then Ichiro, then Joba, and then - yes, OMG! - Robbie. They bring a raft of prospects, which the Yankees immediately elevate. Jeter, Mariano and Andy remain the iconic stars, drawing standing O's with each appearance. Tex has season-ending surgery. The team actually wins a few games and briefly spawns hope for a Wild Card run, but it's too late. An era is ending.
6. September is for hope. The worst is over, and the Yankees vow to bid heavily on Robbie as a free agent. (He won't return, though.) A few prospects look good. Pineda might be a second starter, after all. "Mariano Rivera Day" brings a record sell-out crowd. It is followed by "Andy Pettitte Day," another full house. Crowds show up to cheer Joba and Grandy, in new uniforms. Cashman is rumored to be leaving. Jeter announces he will return in 2014, though at 3B. Hal Steinbrenner vows to spend, spend, spend over the winter. The $189 million budget goal no longer exists.
7. October ends early. The Yankees rally and finish ahead of Boston - third place - but well out of the post-season. A sell-out crowd watches Mo save Andy's final game, and John Sterling records a nine-second WinWarble, the longest in history. There is hope for 2014. The Yankees have finally ended the darkest unlucky Number '13. Meanwhile, in Washington, Bryce Harper is getting bored...