Thursday, July 5, 2007

Gut Check Time

The Yankees managed a ******** 4 hits off pitching God Johan Santana yesterday. That's not really a surprise. Johan is for my money the best pitcher in the game. And the Yankees offense for my money doesn't seem to do too well against great pitching. The result a 6-2 Twins victory. Not much to go nuts over.
I do have a little beef with Joe Torre for the incredibly weak lineup he fielded yesterday. I don't care how good of a pitcher the team is facing, going into battle with the quartet of Cairo, Thompson, Nieves and Phillips isn't the best move to take. I understand Moose prefers Nieves. I understand A-Rod has a strained hammy. But come on. These guys need to tough it out for a day. A-Rod should have played 3B. Posada should have been the DH. Abreu should have been playing over Thompson. Heck, I would had even played Damon at first over Phillips. Bad call by the skipper.
Going into the game the Yankees were 39-41. They need to win every game if they want to see October. The best lineup needs to be on the field when they're facing great pitching. This team had really no chance. It was as if Moose had to carry the team on his shoulders. Don't get me wrong, Moose did all he could do, but when you pitch against Johan, you have to be flawless. And thanks to Jeter's first batter misplay, the team's already down a run. No room for error.
Now the Yankees are sitting 3 games under .500 (AGAIN!), and they need to win out the rest of the week if they want to head into the break above .500. I don't see it happening. Here's some food for thought:
The Yankees lost their 42nd game of the year on August 5th. Their record at the close of play that day was 65-42. They didn't lose game 43 until the 8th of August. They finished the year 97-65. To duplicate their record from last year, they have to win 58 of these next 81 games. They have to play .716 ball the rest of the way to reach that total. Honestly, how many of us can see that happening? The Yankees currently trail the Red Sox by 11.5 and they're 8.5 behind in the wild card race. It's going to take a minimum of 95 wins to reach the WC. The Yankees have to play .691 ball to reach 95 wins. Can it happen? Sure. The team has the potential to do it. Will it happen? Highly unlikely, especially when you consider that at this point in the season the highest team winning percentage is .627. At that clip, we're looking at 90 wins. Realistically, we'll be lucky to win at a .600 pace or 88 wins.
Cashman, Torre, and the rest of the Yankees have a lot of work to do if they want to pull this off. These guys need to sack up and take care of business if they want to win.
It's gut check time. Time to see what these guys are made of.