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July 28, 2005

There's No Way, Unless.....

I know that the Yankees are just 2 games out of 1st place, and there are 63 games left to play.

But, when I look at those 63 games, esp. the schedule in the last month of the season, and then I look at the Yankees current pitching rotation, I just see no way how this team will play well enough to be in the post-season this year.

What the Yankees will need to reach the playoffs is a 3rd starter, to slot behind Johnson and Mussina, who will win around 7 games for them over the next two months.

It could be Pavano coming back, or someone from the farm, or a player picked up in a trade - it doesn't matter. But, this pitcher must be someone who can take the ball and give the team a chance to win that day, most of the time, like Johnson and Mussina. Without this 3rd successful starter, the Yankees are just going to play .500 ball, at best, or, as Cashman says "tread water." And, that's not going to get this team in the post-season.

It's a shame because this is a year where the AL East can be had - it's there for the taking now. No one has run away with it. Boston, Baltimore, and Toronto each have their own issues. You don't always get a chance to win and I would hate to see this year slip through the Yankees hands. But, as much as it hurts me to say it, without that secure third set of hands to man the mound after Unit and Moose, the 2005 season could be the year that the Yankees playoff streak comes to an end.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at July 28, 2005 09:56 AM

Comments

Steve, Jim Kaat last night was practically shouting that the Yankees major issue is not their pitching staff but CF defense. Without being explicit (not wanting to call out 2 friends in the dugout), he implied that the Yankees have enough pitching to contend (2 good to very good starters, 3 good to great relievers forming the base of a decent if not spectacular staff)if they could figure out how to utilize guys like Henn, Graman, Colter Bean, Proctor, etc. to at least approach league-average work. Not enough pitching to win a World Series perhaps but certainly better pitching overall than the 90% of the other contenders, including the Red Sox whose team ERA is actually 20 points worse than the Yankees'. The men in the cross-hairs are obviously Mel and Joe who, Kaat opines, are getting the least out of the pitching talent they have. Stop making them throw 2 strike sliders would be a good start.

Posted by: JohnnyC at July 28, 2005 10:36 AM

If Kitty had to watch all 162 games, maybe he would feel different?

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at July 28, 2005 10:45 AM

Kaat's point I think is that Yankees fans, Joe, Mel, and George have a misplaced sense of entitlement to a foolproof 25 man roster. It never said in the fine print of their contracts that they'll never have to really work for their exorbitant salaries. Bobby Cox in his umpteenth year as manager of the Braves is having to work his hardest to get the most out of the talent he's been given (and most of those "prospects" are 4A players not blue-chippers). Is it too much to expect of Torre and Stottlemyre to do the same? You have often remarked that organizational players like Kevin Thompson, Kevin Reese, Colter Bean, Mitch Jones, Andy Phillips and Mike Vento are never utilized while never-wases and never-will-bes like Russ Johnson, Tim Redding, Wayne Franklin, Buddy Groom, etc. continue to waste our time.

Posted by: JohnnyC at July 28, 2005 11:01 AM

Steve,

Now is not the time to get down. We've climbed all the way back into this thing. Our early season streakiness appears to be behind us. 14-7 over the last 21 games.

We played very respectably on a very tough road trip. We lost to one of the best pitchers in baseball last night--that's nothing to be ashamed of. And, we're battling in the late innings of every game.

We do need one more starter. Pavano could be the guy. I think it is realistic to expect an upgrade to either the starting rotation or the pen, probably not both.

We can live with Bernie/Bubba in center. Randy Winn is not going to win the World Series for us this year. To make a move for a center fielder instead of pitching first, second and third would be a huge mistake. Jim Kaat has never seen a pitcher who didn't have "promise" or "good stuff" or "good location" or whatever. He's a former pitcher and has a bias toward giving pitchers the benefit of the doubt.

The Red Sox have no bullpen. That was a huge strength for them last year. The Orioles are done. As far as the wildcard goes, I'll bet on us over Oakland and Minnesota. As things stand today, we're in pretty good shape.

Posted by: Joel at July 28, 2005 11:34 AM

No question, where they are today, they're in good shape. Lots of teams would want to be 2 out with 63 to go.

But, they got here with Wang winning lots of games as that 3rd dependable starter. And, without a replacement there, they're not going to be able to maintain this good position, IMHO.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at July 28, 2005 11:40 AM

I agree with Joel here. No need to panic with 60 games left. Pavano will back, although I take issue with the extremely cautious approach the team is taking to getting him back in the rotation. Now he's going to throw yet another rehab start? The guy will lead the league in rehab starts before this is done.

Jim Kaat is dead wrong. Of course the pitching is the major problem. We didn't lose last night or last week b/c of CF play. Yes, it would be nice to upgrade there but not at the expense of improving the staff.

Posted by: josh at July 28, 2005 01:07 PM

Chacon has been traded to the Yanks for Ramon Ramirez and Eduardo Sierra.

Posted by: Jen at July 28, 2005 10:17 PM

Chacon has been traded to the Yanks for Ramon Ramirez and Eduardo Sierra.

Posted by: Jen at July 28, 2005 10:17 PM

sorry for the double post, don't know what happened. I'm not THAT excited that they got him. but they didn't have to give up too much to get him which is a good thing.

Posted by: Jen at July 28, 2005 10:58 PM

Jen - thanks for the news. I'm a little behind in the times tonight - I was in the ER getting stitches in my head (long story). I'll have to do an entry on this trade.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at July 28, 2005 11:42 PM

Sorry to hear that Steve. Hope everything is ok.

Posted by: Jen at July 29, 2005 12:07 AM

Thanks. It could have been a thousand times worse. So, I'm happy.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi at July 29, 2005 08:50 AM