Friday, May 16, 2014
Posted by el duque at 7:09 AM
When you beat the Mets: "Big deal, WTF, you want a medal for beating the METS?" When you lose to the Mets, "Holy crap! WTF, you lost to the METS?" Now we can go back to playing teams that aren't obsessed with proving themselves to Jennifer Lopez.
Of course, we are battered, limping, and searching for Sidney Ponson's phone number. Nevertheless, I am sensing warmth from the following rays of hope:
1. Solarte keeps going. Friends, let us hereby thank the Lord for blessing us with Brendan Ryan's spring training back injury, because if not for that godly tweak, we might not have the bright light that is Yangervis. On the last day of spring training, the brain trust had to cut either him, Dean Anna or Eduardo Nunez. But if Ryan had been healthy, we would have had to cut two of them. (Ryan has to make the team; he has a two-year contract.)
If Ryan were healthy, Solarte might have been DFA'ed. This is what happens when you clog a roster with contracts. (You keep Ichiro and send Zolio Almonte back.) It has been the Yankees' standard operating procedure during bad times. It killed us throughout the 1980s, when young players were traded so the team could play high-priced bums. Somehow, Solarte somehow made it through the salmon fence. He's got another month before we can pronounce him a major league success. He could still fall off the table. But when he comes up, I give far more attention than to - say - Soriano, McCann or even - sadly - Gardner.
2. Betances is unreal. Not much to improve upon last night. Seven Mets, six Ks. At least one Killer B made it (Whither goest thou, Andrew Brackman?) Betances still has the highest ceiling on the staff - (yes, I'm including Pineda.) If he just throws strikes, he could be a game-changer, a stopper. It's like having a secret weapon. Could he someday be turned back to a starter? Certainly not this year. But the big guy is finding himself. When a big guy finds himself, there is always hope.
3. This is stupid, feel free to mock me, but there is an organizational lugnut at Scranton named Kyle Roller, and you won't find him on any Top 10 prospect list, and the Mel Kipers will pooh-pooh his chances (as if they know.) But he has crushed the ball this season. He plays 1B, is built like Fred Flintstone, just turned 26 (missed 2011 due to injuries) and in 21 games at Double A hit nearly .400 with nine home runs. Last week, they bumped him up to Scranton. Last night, he hit his 2nd HR there. They call him "organizational fodder" and tell us not to bother watching. When River Ave put out its daily farm system report last month, Mike Axisa (whom I love) didn't even include Roller. Well, now he does.
Should we care about Roller? Probably not. Yes, this is irrational, but here's my ridiculously uninformed and ignorant take: Soon, Mark Teixeira will get hurt. We know this. It's bound to happen. Hopefully, it will be a minor injury, and we'll get him back. But when it happens, we do not have to go to the Russell Canzler option. We can roll the dice... on Roller! (Imagine John's call.) He is a genuine mystery, a break-out, an enigma. Who knows what he's got? But at least I have something to hope for. Alfonso Soriano does NOT cut it.
4. The real reason for hope: We are playing in Division III. We must beat Alfred, Nazareth, SUNY Oswego and the favorite: St. John's Fisher. That's the AL East. Right now, we are two games above .500, a half-game behind Baltimore, which has major issues. The Redsocks and Blue Jays have been parked at .500 and their engines aren't running. The Rays - arguably the best team in the AL East - are terrible (except when they play us.)
Listen: 83 wins could take this division. We can win 83 games.
Keep in mind: Hope and faith are two entirely different concepts. I'm not saying I have faith that any of the above will come to pass. But ah, hope... isn't it still spring?