Revenge is best served cold…
Unfortunately, the last laugh belongs to former Yankees manager Buck Showalter. A funny thing happened to the Yankees on their way to the AL East Championship; they were derailed by Showalter’s Baltimore Orioles. Following an 8-game winning streak, the Yanks have now lost three games in a row including the first two of their latest series with the O’s. As the O’s were pounding the Yankees tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays were thumping the Boston Red Sox to move closer to first.
The Boston Globe
In a dead heat, it is hard not to give the Rays the advantage due to their superior pitching staff. Frankly, I am not so sure that the Yankees have the pitching to advance very deep into the play-offs regardless of whether they win the AL East or get in as the Wild Card. I want the Yankees to win, of course, but when the O’s can pummel your ace like a batting practice pitcher, and the next pitcher in line, A.J. Burnett, no longer trusts his stuff, how can you get excited about your team’s chances? No one knows how Andy Pettitte will perform, and there is a very good chance he’ll have some rust to shake at a time when there is no time. Javier Vazquez is finished as a frontline starter in New York at least, and Phil Hughes is about done as he nears his innings ceiling. The second best starter on the staff right now is rookie Ivan Nova. The missed opportunities to get either Cliff Lee (regardless of his recent health issues) or Ted Lilly will haunt the Yanks in October. I realize that it wasn’t necessarily Brian Cashman’s fault, but looking back, I was so surprised last off-season when the decision was made to bring future ex-Yankee Vazquez back to New York. I thought it was a mistake at the time, and now it appears to be a catastrophic error.
When the Yankees win, things are fantastic, but when they lose, it’s doom and gloom, I know. But realistically speaking, win or lose, the Yankees simply do not have the horses in the starting rotation beyond CC Sabathia to excel in the play-offs when clearly good pitching beats good hitting.
The Yankees have a great offense, but without top line pitching, their hitters can’t power their way to October wins. The injury issues with Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher have hurt, as has Derek Jeter’s slump. Lance Berkman is starting to figure out AL pitching but is it too little too late? Time will tell.
This off-season will be one of transition for the Yanks. They’ll have to make some hard decisions, and they’ll need to look at replacing some of the old guard. The Boston Red Sox have proven that no team should get too attached to any player. I know the Sox will most likely miss the play-offs but that’s only because of the toll the injuries have had on the team (which is beyond Theo Epstein’s control). Otherwise, it is not outside of the realm of possibility that the Yanks could be in third chasing the Rays and the Sox.
It’s hard to believe that the NFL season is now upon us. My team, the Minnesota Vikings, open the season on Thursday night against the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints. Brett Favre will get the chance to prove that he should have run instead of attempting to pass, but it will be hard to re-capture last year’s magic. Favre’s favorite target, Sidney Rice, is on the sidelines thanks to hip surgery. In reading many Minnesota news reports, you come to the conclusion that the media feels strongly this is the final year of the Vikings’ window of opportunity. I know so much rides on Brett Favre’s arm, but the rest of the team does have some talent. I was sad to see fellow Iowa native Sage Rosenfels traded to the New York Giants, but something had to give to protect QB prospect Joe Webb. I am not a fan of backup QB Tavaris Jackson, but I am also not so sure that Webb will be ready to take over at QB when Favre retires (for good) at the end of the year. I was quietly hoping the Vikings would make a play on free agent QB Matt Leinart before he signed with the Houston Texans. I know that Leinart failed in Arizona, but I do believe that he has the talent to succeed in the right system. He is signed to just a one-year deal so hopefully he’ll be one of the options the Vikings look at when trying to replace Favre for next season.
I guess this is a ‘glass is half empty’ kind of night…