Friday, May 13, 2016

With three out of four against the the Royals, the Yankees are holding on to that Wild Card dream

The other day, watching Max Scherzer light up Washington with 20 strikeouts, I couldn't help but close my eyes and imagine him as a Yankee. Isn't that how it's supposed to be? We're the effing Yankees, the one team that stops at nothing to put its greatest team on the field? Or at least, we used to be, until the Boy Owner took over.

Right now, all of baseball is wondering what's wrong with David Price? Will he be worth all that money? Redsock fans are apoplectic. Will he be a dud? But that should be our controversy, not Boston's. We should be the team everybody is talking about, not the Redsocks. When ESPN holds its game of the week, the announcers should be haggling over what's happening with the Yankees.

As it is, nothing is happening with the Yankees.

Today, we are 7 out in the AL East and 5 down in the AL Wild Card race, which - with 129 games left to play - requires a doctorate in theoretical mathematics to calculate. Our Wild Card Magic Number falls somewhere between grains of sand in the Sahara and the Celino & Barnes hotline, which is - as you know - 888,888,888.

Want to burst with pride? We finally have a pitcher with three wins - Nathan Eovaldi. We finally have a regular hitting .300 - Starlin Castro. Thanks to Chase Headley, we can finally field a lineup with every batter homering in 2016.

Thanks to El Chapo finally completing his anger management courses, we finally have baseball's best bullpen - at least from the seventh on. It includes the sport's greatest teammate - Andrew Miller - who accepted a role change without one complaint, even though the traditional contract structure rewards marquee closers over middle-men. Right now, beyond the hoopla over Chapman, we finally have a legitimate heir to Mariano - it's Miller.

We have finally seen the wave of injuries - to A-Rod, Ellsbury, CC and Tex - that everyone knew was coming. (Gardy is still out there, but struggling. In the last half of 2015, he hit .205. This year, he's hitting .235. He is nearing an entire full season of mediocre play. This is troubling.) We have yet to see what the old players will do after they return. With the exception of Tex, the others were showing signs of life just before the injuries. Now, what?

With luck, we look like a team that can win 86 to 90 games. That means challenging for another Wild Card slot, at least through mid-September.

This would be the fifth consecutive year in which we chase the Wild Card.

This is the modern goal of the Yankees: Win the Wild Card and hope to get hot.

Could we dramatically improve? I guesso. If Pineda and Severino somehow turn it around, that would be huge. Combined, they are 1-9. But after that, no single area of the team justifies great hope. Headley won't hit .140, but will he hit .260? We can bring up Aaron Judge, but will he really produce more than Beltran? (And a Beltran injury is waiting to happen.) What improvements suddenly make this team win the AL East? Jeeze, I dunno.

I guess our hope is that Baltimore and Boston stumble. (If Jackie Bradley Jr. is really a .329 hitter, and Travis Shaw continues to hit .320 - let's face it: We are toast.) Aside from that, we look like a carbon copy of 2012 through 2015. We're still chasing Wild Cards. And Max Scherzer is the most exciting pitcher in the game. It's something for us to talk about.

1 comment:

Blind Robin said...

Please drop the other shoe and get this over with.