Monday, July 23, 2007

Bombs Away!

The Yankees put on a offensive show for the ages over the weekend against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They put up 45 runs over three games. In the last two that had back to back 20 hit games for the first time in Yankees history. They were clicking on all cylinders as every starter had at least one hit, drove in at least one run and scored at least one. Shelley Duncan is doing his best Shane Spencer impersonation and Arod continued his march towards 500 home runs. It was the kind of offensive show that the Yankees were supposed to be capable of coming out of spring training. The injury to Jason Giambi and the subpar performances of Cano, Matsui, Damon and Abreu had led to the offense being inconsistent at best. Arod, Posada and Jeter had carry the load for the first three months of the season and the Yankees record was a result of that. Damon still isn't doing much but with Cano pushing his average over .290 and Matsui's recent power surge, the offense is starting produce like a well oiled machine.

The Yankees currently sit 7.5 games behind the Red Sox in the east. The Sox started out the season 35-15 and have been at .500 since then. They had the opportunity to bury the Yankees but did not take advantage. They still currently posses the largest divisional lead in all of baseball so there is no real reason for panic in Red Sox nation, but they have given the Yankees and their fans some reason for hope. The Yankees currently have about a 9% chance of winning the division. In fact, if the Sox were to play .600 ball or something close to that, the Yankees would have absolutely no shot of winning the division. As it stands now, the Yankees have to play close to .700 ball just to have a shot at winning 95 games, which is about what it has taken on average to win the AL east.

The Yankees have painted themselves into a very tight corner. They cannot afford a streak, of any length, of poor play. If they were to lose seven out of ten at any point over the next two months, their playoff chances will be finished. Are they capable of a three month streak of excellence? The short answer is yes, but the odds, much like their playoff chances, are very slim. It's still fun to watch Arod put up a season for the ages, but in the Bronx, the only thing that matters is winning. A team with a $200 million payroll isn't supposed to flounder for half the season as they have done. While the pitching injuries have been many, the rest of league isn't exactly crying over the Yankees misfortune. The Yankees still have the talent and desire to get back to the playoffs, but everything, and I mean everything, has to go their way from here on out. They need every bad hop, blown call, misjudged fly ball and act of God to go their way. That along with excellent, consistent play will give them a chance (just a chance) to make the playoffs. Beating the hell out of Tampa Bay is nice, but they've got a long hard road ahead of them if they are to make the post season for the 13th straight year.



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