Monday, July 7, 2008

5 things I learned this weekend

The Yankees walked their season to the edge this weekend at the Stadium and lived to tell the tale ... just barely. Following two ugly losses to open a crucial four-game set against the Red Sox, the Bombers rallied back for a pair of one-run wins and a series split. Here are five things I took out of an emotionally-exhausting weekend in the Bronx.

1) Brett Gardner needs to play - The rookie came through against Jonathan Papelbon in the 10th inning last night, grounding a single through the middle to drive in the winning run. It was Gardner's second hit of the game and first game-winning RBI. With Matsui and now Damon both sidelined, Gardner will play everyday for the next two weeks. He's already shown an ability to work counts and his speed is an incredible asset. He has looked overmatched at times, but you get the feeling the kid will hit once he gets comfortable. When Damon returns, it should be Melky Cabrera who heads to the bench.

2) A-Rod is an idiot, but he's a talented idiot - Alex Rodriguez showed again last night what an amazing talent he is by tying Mickey Mantle with his 536th homer, but it's hard to figure out why he has this need to bring attention to himself in such a unflattering light. He may secretly enjoy being talked about, or he may be simply socially retarded. Whatever it is, his wife filed for divorce today and he's now going to be in the gossip world's crosshairs. If his relationship with Madonna turns out to be more fire than smoke, he better be prepared to enter a very ugly world. If it distracts him, it distracts the team, and that's a very bad thing.

3) Lineup help is needed - The Yankees have had trouble scoring all season. As presently built, this team needs an offense that can produce with the league's best. Adding a power bat would definitely help. The Yankees are likely waiting for Mark Teixiera to become a free agent before pursuing him, but it may be worth sniffing the Braves way and see what it would cost to pry him away prior to the deadline. If Atlanta thinks it has little chance of resigning the slugger, it may be willing to part ways even without representative compensation. Acquiring a power-hitting, switch-hitting, slick-fielding first baseman would fatten up the lineup and allow Giambi to be what he is at this point in his career ... a full-time DH.

Just for fun ...

1) Damon - LF
2) Jeter - SS
3) Abreu - RF
4) Rodriguez - 3B
5) Teixiera - 1B
6) Giambi - DH
7) Posada - C
8) Cano - 2B
9) Gardner - CF

Not bad, eh?

4) Red Sox still ahead in farm race - As stated earlier, Gardner has great promise and Joba is an ace in wait. But the Red Sox are defending world champions and they have their player development team to thank for it. Pedroia, Ellsbury, Youkilis, Lester and Papelbon are all huge contributors, showing that the best path to the World Series is supplmenting your veteran core with farm help. If Hughes and Kennedy can get it together, this is a closer match, but as things stand Boston has the clear upperhand down on the farm.

5) The Yanks have a lot of work to do - Can the Yankees be a playoff team in 2008? I suppose. Can they be a playoff team as presently constituted? I don't think so. The Rays are for real (right?) and, split or not, the Red Sox look to be the better team right now. The Yanks need help in the rotation, bullpen and lineup. Will Cash make the moves to fortify New York's trouble spots? Do the Yankees even have the trading chips to fix all that ails them? All I do know is that the Yanks have their biggest playoff dogfight in front of them since 1995. The Rays come into town next, another test for two teams that on paper are heading in opposite directions in this league.

1 comment:

Yankee Stadium Crew: said...

Gardner needs to play! I couldnt agree more!

awesome blog, heres mine