By Eddie Castro
The Yankees once again, have the best record in the majors, and are on pace to win about 103 games. Despite leading the American League East by 6 games, there are still some concerns about the Yankees’ play going into the second half. The team found themselves in a predicament they haven’t found themselves in some time. After sweeping a 3-game set against. The Toronto Blue Jays, the “Bronx Bombers” traveled to Oakland in a late-season West Coast trip to start a 4-game series against the A’s. The Yankees were “outplayed” the entire series as they were swept 4 straight games right out of the Oakland Coliseum. The four losses snapped a nine-game winning streak the Yankees had in Oakland. In an early-season visit back in May, it was the Yankees who seemed to overwhelm the A’s in a 3-game sweep of their own. The four straight losses to the A’s was also the first time since 2003 that the Yanks were swept in a four-game series (May, 2003 vs. Toronto all losses by 1 run). Several sources have indicated that the team has “lost it’s swagger”. How does a ball club with a $200 million dollar payroll get “beat up” by a team who has one of the lowest payrolls in baseball at $53 million. The Yankees, since June 2, has the best winning record in the Majors, but the team that is second on that list behind them was the team that defeated them 4 straight times.
Sure we can go on and make excuses about the team’s rotation being a bit unsettled with the injuries to Andy Pettitte and C.C Sabathia, however, pitchers like Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes have proven in the past that they can carry the rotation through the second half of the season as Sabathia works his way back into form. Pettitte is not expected back until late August, perhaps early September. Even with a 1st place record, the Yankees apparently are on a panic watch. The offense appears to be two-dimensional with Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter leading the way. It is players like Alex Rodriguez who need to get his bat going. After all, he is making $30 million dollars this year. Put it this way, C.C. Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez are making more money this year then anybody on the entire Oakland A’s team. The biggest part of the season is coming up for the Bombers as 20 percent of the team’s remaining games are against division opponents, including 12 games against the Boston Red Sox.
So is it panic or patience? I say, neither! We all know that every team has its ups and downs during the course of a grueling 162-game season. It’s just a rarity for the Yankees to lose 4 straight to a team. That’s baseball for you, on any given day or night, a team can be beat. It’s the beauty of sports and part of an excitement and frustration of being a fan, especially in New York. The Yankees will be right there in the mix of things and the mid-week acquisition of Japanese sensation Ichiro Suzuki will help the team’s offense. Pettitte will be back, Joba Chamberlain will return, and despite an ACL injury, there are even reports of Mariano Rivera possibly returning this season. There are many things for Yankee fans to be excited about. The only question is, can they put it all together come October.
Sports Notes : With the newest acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki, The Yankees should be better. They will display their new look as they start a 3-game set at the stadium against the Boston Red Sox on Friday night Ichiro’s Yankee home debut. Lets’ be nice and call it a “Summer Slump.” Either way you put it, the Mets have struggled so far in the second half having lost 9 of their last 10 games. They look to get things going as they host a 4-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team traditionally have played well on the road against them.