It doesn't take much to knock me off the band wagon. A nudge or a bump along the trail, and I'm flying into the bog. It's Yankee fan P.T.S.D. - the sudden urge to hide behind the couch and watch a network sitcom. It's the dead-on, absolute certainty that the Yanks will lose, and that I have been somehow transformed into a fan of Two Broke Girls, which is like being Kafka's cockroach, but with lower self-esteem. I felt it last night.
I can't explain it. But in just the way that we looked like winners for a week, last night you saw the garbage barge spewing purple smoke and headed back to port. No hits through five, a scratch single, and then a monstrous fielding gaffe by the one guy here for his glove... and suddenly, it was 2011-2016, and Jayson Nix was throwing to Lyle Overbay all over again.
Listen: An eight-game winning streak is a banner way to celebrate the spring sap erections of April. But it's also a balloon waiting to be popped. As Alphonso pointed out, last night we were suddenly subjected to a rerun of Two Broke Boys - the marshmallow-tipped spear of Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury atop our lineup. I thought that twosome had been sealed in amber and mailed to Zambezi, but there they were - a Seussian Out 1 and Out 2, speed-dialing through the first six innings.
And of course, that helped conjure the bottom third of our lineup - the Black Hole of Calcutta, which we've come to know well in recent years. Last week, you had the volatile Aaron Judge or the born-again Chase Headley down there, waiting to strike. Last night, it was Romine, Torreyes and Kozma (oh my) - and not enough pinch-hitters to strike early. It was a bottom third like all the others that have made this, thus far, the worst decade in Yankee history.
Last year, when he couldn't hit a lick, Headley was benched three times in the April. (I looked it up.) Last night, leading the team in hitting, he sat out his first game of 2017. I suppose everybody needs a rest. Still, it fits the main bugaboo about Joe Girardi - he benches hot players because of some computer print-out, which means he has traded his instincts for algorithms. One thing we know about Girardi's software: It doesn't take into account the streakiness of hitters. And we are a team of streaky hitters.
One certainty of 2017 was that we'd know early on if this team was worth a piss. Nobody argues that Pineda, Headley, Gardy, Ellsbury et al will need a half season to get their bearings. They'll either do the job or disappear. Thus far, they have done the job. But the streak is over, and in recent years, the Yankees usually matched winning stretches with collapses. Now, we'll see. I'll be watching from behind the couch.