Monday, June 9, 2008

Running to stand still

First things first. Don't worry about Mariano Rivera. He's the greatest closer ever, but he's also just like every other reliever in one way ... he goes through funks. He'll have a stretch this season where he has trouble getting people out for a week or two ... and this might be the beginning of that. It may last long enough for some columnists to say his tank is running on empty. That's always funny.

The real culprit in today's 3-2 loss was the damned offense, which continues to revel in agonizing inconsistency. Mike Mussina should be in the clubhouse right now talking to reporters about picking up his 10th win in the second week of June. Instead, despite eight innings of two-run ball against a last-place team, he's hooked with a maddening no-decision. And while Luke Hochevar may be a decent young pitcher and possibly even be a cool guy, he ain't Cy Young. He entered Monday with a 5.13 ERA. One A-Rod homer in six-plus innings? Luke Hochevar? Seriously?

Yeah, yeah, they were this close to a win. A single by Melky Cabrera in the ninth likely would have taken the game and series. But you can't win in every walk-off situation. Two of the last three Yankees wins were of the last at-bat variety, and the law of averages dictate that's not going to happen every time. We should be thankful we're 3-2 in the last five games. It very easily could have been 1-4.

So here we are again. Hitting the road for a three-game set with the A's at 32-32. Will the real New York Yankees please stand up? Because frankly, this is getting annoying.

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