Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bombers Sweep

Three things in life will always come back to humiliate you: baseball, golf, and politics.

Stiil, on the basis of two weeks' work, some clear lines may be appearing:

1. Starting pitching, except for the Braves of 1995-2000, is always a matter of throwing it out there and seeing what works. Nothing is promised, nothing owed. Pitching is the most unnatural act in sports (God, in the end, wants us all to go bowling), and the question is always: whose bad back, whose sore arm, whose elbow will turn today's 20-game winner into tomorrow's student in real estate school? That said, CC, AJ, Pettitte and Hughes seem the real thing. Vasquez? A slight concern, at this point.

2. The baseball gods may well have front-loaded the first twelve games as the year's toughest dozen in a row. Two weeks ago Red Sox, Rays, and Angels seemed the most likely candidates to unseat the Yankees in the American League, and Texas--with Vlad, Hamilton, and Young--can, in theory, hit the ball. Yet New York is one opening-day bullpen meltdown away from standing 10-2 against the bunch of them. As it is, they are 9-3, with the Sox one stiff jab away from going Dempsey through the ropes and onto Grantland Rice's typewriter. (I remember thinking the Sox were deeper than Boston Harbor in talent--if Ortiz doesn't come out of his funk, not so much. Pedroia and Ellsbury can run all around the Back Bay if they want to, but they're harmless if no one drives them in. Lowell is a pinch-hitter, Manny is long gone, Beltre is off the junk . . . are Martinez/Varitek, Youklis, and Drew going to combine for even 350 RBIs? Doubt it. )

3. I'm always cautious about writing, "And (sports team) has done all this without major contributions from players XYZ," because maybe players XYZ are dogs, and maybe they're old, or whatever. Still and all, the Yankees have done this with minimal offensive contributions from Tex and A-Rod. These would be the third and fourth Yankee hitters, the Bronx home office of Ruth and Gehrig, Gehrig and DiMaggio, Maris and Mantle, Munson and Jackson, O'Neill and Bernie. Truly, Jeter, Granderson, Posada, Swisher, and Gardner couldn't currently play better in their dreams, but so minimal have been the contributions of A-Rod and Tex (and again, specify offeniseively; they have been dandies with the leather) that one wonders: against the likes of Kansas City and Seattle, with CC on the mound, how well will this team play once these guys get untracked?

1 comment:

SunDevilJoe said...

Good take on the weekend and summary of the first 12 "tough" games. I think Joel Sherman of the NYPost said it best:

"Derek Jeter was pulled from the starting lineup yesterday with a head cold. Nick Swisher missed a cutoff man. Nick Johnson appeared more likely to lead the crowd in a rousing rendition of “God Bless America” than actually swing his bat.

That was a public service announcement to assure folks that there are problems with the 2010 New York Yankees.

Trust me, though, right now it is probably easier to find a Yeti than Yankee mistakes.

There is a sense of inevitability about the Yankees these days."