Objectivity

“The Yankee payroll argument ain’t flying this year, Boston fans. If your team isn’t there in October (and don’t worry, they will be), you can look at that three-month stretch where the Red Sox had every opportunity to put the Yankees away and couldn’t close the door.”
That was posted, by me, August 4, 2006 as part of the entry Cry, Cry, Cry. Seeing as how it whas a whole five days ago, it’s understandable that you guys have already forgotten it.

Try actually reading the blog before you decide to tell me what I did and didn’t say.

Also, if you’d bothered to read the post entitled Little of This, Little of That, you’d understand that my attitude has nothing to do with living up to the title of the blog and everything to do with the early 90’s and 2004. Again, if you’re just coming here to insult and argue, more power to you, but you’d be better served to actually read the posts before you argue them. Just a suggestion.

At the end of this 21-game stretch, the Yankees will have squandered their season and you’ll be wondering how it happened. All you had to do was pay attention.

And yes, I honestly believe that.

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Mark My Words

This stretch of 21 games in 20 days is going to murder the Yankees. They’ll go 11-10 at best.
Randy Johnson’s line tonight will be: 4 2/3 IP, 6 R, 6 ER, 9 H, 3 BB, 1 K. He’ll take the loss.

Get ready to hear/read the following statements a few times over the next three weeks:

1) “It was a frustrating loss, but I feel good about this team.”
2) “We just need to get back to doing what we do and letting the game come slowly.”
3) “We’re a tired team right now, but that’s no excuse.”
4) “Randy’s searching. We’re all hoping he’ll find it.”

It’s not going to be a pretty three weeks. The Red Sox are certainly struggling right now, but the Yankees’ season is about to start spiraling. Wait and see.

Back By Popular Demand

Because these predictions seem to infuriate people, I figure why not keep throwing them out there. The worst-case (or best-case, depending upon your perspective) scenario is I’m wrong, the Yankees play well, and you guys have a little fun at my expense. I can live with that. Here are the next two weeks for the Yanks and Sox, respectively.
Yankees
@CWS: 1-2
vs. LAA: 2-2
vs. BAL: 2-1
@ BOS: 2-3
Overall: 7-8

Red Sox
@ KC: 3-0
vs. BAL: 2-1
vs. DET: 2-1
vs. NYY: 3-2
Overall: 10-4

That’s a 3.5 game swing, which leaves Boston up 1.5 games after the Fenway series. The fine folks at ESPN are wetting themselves at that possibility. What a harrowing story of triumph it will be.

Finally, is it just me, or does Boston seem to get a series with the Royals every time they need to get things back on track?

Little of This, Little of That

Before I jump in to another bout of predictions, let’s get a few things out of the way. I know it may seem like I don’t enjoy the games, or don’t actually want the Yankees to win, but that simply isn’t the case. I’m not old enough to have seen Mantle, Maris, Berra, Munson, Guidry or Catfish, but I am old enough to have grown up watching Mattingly, Winfield, Randolph and that gang win 90+ games every year and still miss the post-season. I realize that, traditionally, the Yankees are a winning organization, but there are “down” periods, so for me to understand that, at some point, they’re going to miss the playoffs isn’t really a crime. Some people think being a fan means always believing in the best possible outcome, and that’s fine, but that’s not me. You’re not foolish for having faith in this team, and I’m not foolish – nor am I a Red Sox fan – just because I don’t expect them to win this year. Differing opinions are okay. Discussing sports is part of the fun of being a fan.
Everything changed after 2004. That series knocked the wind out of a lot of fans, myself included. Watching the Yankees fold like a cheap card table was both unsettling and unexpected. Watching them follow up that performance by starting the 2005 campaign in such poor fashion only solidified my belief that it’s going to be a while before we see a dominant Yankees team. I don’t think you can count on guys like Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriguez, and their respective performances this season haven’t done anything to dispel that notion. For all the heart the Yankees have shown this year (plenty), when it comes down to it, guys like Johnson and Rodriguez are going to have to produce on a consistent basis for the next two months, or this team is going to miss the playoffs. As I have seen absolutely nothing yet this season which would lead me to believe either is capable of doing so, I believe the Yankees will miss the playoffs. I think that’s a relatively logical conclusion to come to. Is Boston in better shape? Not right now, no. But there are two months left. Remember, the Yankees were 3.5 games back of Boston at this point last year, and they came back. A two-game lead with nearly two months left isn’t exactly a stranglehold on the division. It is my belief – and has been since 2004 – that getting my hopes up about this team isn’t necessarily a recipe for happiness.

A few other thoughts:

Peter Abraham wrote a great piece on Chien-Ming Wang. You can find it here.

I can not wait to watch Phillip Hughes pitch a major league game. This kid is going to be special.

I think we’re all getting ahead of ourselves with the Matsui/Sheffield talk. Remember, they have yet to be cleared for BP. If and when they do come back, there’s a distinct possibility that they could hinder the team more than help. It’ll take them a while to get their timing back, and in order to do so, they’ll be taking at-bats away from guys like Cabrera and Wilson. I’m not sure that helps the team. If you’re expecting Matsui and Sheffield to jump right back in to action and be 100% effective, you’re in for a massive disappointment.

I’d Bet Anything

Place your bets, folks. Here comes the next prediction.
The Red Sox will be atop the AL East by the time that five-game series in Fenway concludes. And ESPN will have a field day. I’d bet anything on it. So, excluding monetary wagers, if you’ve got a creative bet to place, respond here and we’ll work something out.

Before We Hand Them the Pennant…

Two things to consider regarding the Yankees’ future:
1) In his last two starts, Randy Johnson has allowed 13 runs (10 earned) and has not struck out a batter.
2) After his 0-5 performance today, A-Rod finished the Baltimore series 1-13.

Both of these guys are going to have to step up and find some consistency for the Yankees to make any noise come October. It is my belief that they won’t. I haven’t seen anything in the last four months to convince me otherwise, which is why my prediction hasn’t – and won’t – change.

Fausto Carmona Strikes Again!

The Indians led the Tigers 3-2 going in to the bottom of the 9th in Detroit. Here’s what transpired:

Bottom 9TH B:0 S:0 O:0
Pitcher Change: Fausto Carmona replaces Jason Davis.

Bottom 9TH B:0 S:0 O:0
Brandon Inge singles on a bunt ground ball to first baseman Victor Martinez.

Bottom 9TH B:0 S:3 O:1
Curtis Granderson strikes out on foul tip.

Bottom 9TH B:1 S:0 O:2
Placido Polanco grounds into a force out, shortstop Jhonny Peralta to second baseman Joe Inglett. Brandon Inge out at 2nd. Placido Polanco to 1st.

Bottom 9TH B:0 S:0 O:2
Ivan Rodriguez homers (9) on a fly ball to left field. Placido Polanco scores.

Hey Eric, maybe, just mmmaaaaaayyyybbbeeee the kid isn’t ready to close out games. Maybe it’s time to give somebody else a shot. That statement, of course, presumes that you care one whit about winning.