Thanks to the added Wild Card spot, October started in September this season, extending the most exciting time on MLB’s calendar.
Yankees great Yogi Berra once said something that applies big time this season, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
THE COLD-HARD TRUTH:
And the only reason the Yankees have remained in contention is because they are surviving on a stellar first-half, going 52-33 pre-All-Star Break.
Just five-days after the second-half of 2012 season started, the Yankees had a comfy 10-game lead in the division and they looked almost unbeatable.
But that was July 18th, and the Yankees have not even played .500 baseball, as they have posted a 26-29 record since that Wednesday.
Yet somehow, despite all the injuries and lifeless play, the Yankees have managed to stay in first-place. Still at the same time they opened the door for the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays to be serious threats.
Out of the three AL-East contenders, the Yankees are the only team posting an above .500 record on the season. The Rays have struggled vs. Al-Central teams (13-17), while the O’s are 13-18 vs. AL West teams.
BOOSTS AND BATS:
Now it is hard to deny that the Yankees haven’t looked worn out over the last month but many difference maker-players are getting healthy again.
Shadowing a stellar return by pitcher Ivan Nova last weekend, fans should be enthusiastic about getting Southpaw Andy Pettitte back on the hill tonight, along with speedster Brett Gardner whose role is TBD. Slugger Mark Teixeira who is looking to be back in the line-up by week’s end will follow them.
Other than getting back to health, the Yankee bats seem to be warming up again and if that line-up starts raking again, they are hard to beat.
Like the ex-Yankees skipper Casey Stengel, once said, “Good pitching will always top good hitting and vice-versa.”
And since hitting is contagious I hope that the Grand- Man, Cano, the Captain and A-rod spent there off day yesterday trying to spread the virus to Nick Swisher.
Fact is slumps don’t last forever, so the timing makes perfect sense but admittedly it has been tough to stay patient and keep high hopes that it will.
The Yankees bullpen I have little worry about.
As for the starting rotation, they have the luxury of not having to be perfect if the bats are working. I have faith that Hughes and Kuroda can pitch a solid six to seven innings without giving up homers.
As for Nova, Sabathia and Pettitte, everyone is well aware of what each is capable of doing and hopefully each will step it up and feed off the playoff-like atmosphere.
What I am trying to say to all Yankee fans is keep the faith, as this team has certainly earned it.
And I can attest that nothing is better than October baseball in the Bronx. So maybe it is time for us fans to help the Yankees get there by believing in them.
“If we’re going to win the pennant, we’ve got to start thinking we’re not as smart as we think we are.” – Casey Stengel