Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yankeetorial: Oakland has undressed the fundamental fact that we are back to waiting for Arod

Dim the mood lights. Cue the Moby soundtrack. Push the potato snug into the tailpipe, and let's get comfy. Nobody wants to hear us whinnying when nine eight seven games up. But today, all that stands between hope and a humiliating four-game sweep is Hiroki Kuroda, and we've rolled enough of his dice to not plan the victory party in advance. (Which is bad juju, BTW.) 

We're back to where we stood in mid-May:

Waiting for Arod.

Remember how dead we looked in April, after it settled in that Ming the Merciless had traded Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi for a tin of bad sardines? I still get boils on my forehead, thinking about it. But through discipline, hard work and massive outputs of juju, the Yankiverse turned it around. Until now.

This week, we learned that modern medicine whiffed on Brett Gardner's elbow -- same guy who pronouced Michael Pineda's velcro shoulder whole? - so he needs surgery. As John would say, Gardy has gone yardy. It's amazing how the news sucked the air from this team. Gardner is no all-star, just a hard-charging fielder who takes six pitches per at-bat and doesn't swing for the fences. (Russell Martin used to be such a guy, but something happened.) But his return was going to energize our lineup. Now, who brings the boost?

We're back to waiting for Arod.

Which is like waiting for Amelia Earhart. Nobody else is coming. Our farm system is stems and seeds. Joba is throwing, until he suffers a setback -  they usually do. (And let's hope he tells somebody, rather than trying to pitch through it.) But will he be any better than Cory Wade? Andy Pettitte? Late August. Andruw Jones hasn't been the same since learning he'll have to run in LF for the next three months. Who spells 40-year-old Raul Ibanez? Shane Victorino? Get real. And this talk about trading for Justin Upton is proof that 12 year olds are still blogging. You don't rip apart a division-leading team for an underachiever like that. So who will lead us from this darkness?

We're back to waiting for Arod.

Last night, Alex led off the ninth with a single. Fine piece of hitting. He grinded, fouled off a few, then stroked a clean grounder into left. It is Alex's signature hit: sharp single to left. If the defense overshifts, it's a DP. Later, he stole second base. Fine piece of running. He's stolen 11 out of 12. He's a wily coyote. Always hustles. Decent player. Abomination batting third.

But where else do you plant him? Fifth? He won't protect Nick Swisher. Second? That's two RH bats in a row, leaving Grandy and Cano - two lefties - to follow. No matter how you slice it, we have a .270 hitter with 20 HR power - think Toby Harrah - batting third. If his name was not Alex Rodriguez... but let's no go there. It is...

This is not to rag on Alex. I love the guy. Really. In his Yankee years I've never seen him jog out a grounder. There are few stars about which that can be said. But here we are, fat atop the AL East, and we're glimpsing the playoffs in Oakland - and folks, the cavalry is not coming. Help is not on the way.

We're back to waiting for Arod.

What's going to win it for us this year? Arod has to start hitting. It's that simple. If he doesn't, we're seeing October right now, as clear as a bell. Gone in five. If we make it at all. Where did I put that potato?


Mustang said...

This won't be a problem anymore after 2017.

JM said...

Mustang is right. Besides, Oakland isn't a playoff team. We only lose miserably to lower tier teams, and we beat the Angels 2 out of 3. See? No problem. Hughes holds a team to 4 hits, and only two were home runs. We can't help it if these lousy teams have Cy Young, Christie Mathewson...I'm hungover, you know who I mean, Ronald Reagan in the movie...and Bob Gibson pitching against us. Is Pavano available? Arod doesn't have to come back. We'll be fine. Did I mention that I'm hungover? You know what I mean, Ed Helms played me in the movie. Is Glavine available?