Another second half starts with the Bombers looking up at the teams they have to pass for the right to play October Baseball. The fact that it has come to this again doesn't surprise me. Coming from behind to play fall ball via explosive second halves has been the route the Yanks have taken for several seasons already. The reasons behind the Yanks' current plight, however, are as confusing as they are well documented here and everywhere else. The starting pitching has survived to perform adequately without Wang and the young guns while the bullpen has been fantastic. On the flip side, the offense has been so inconsistent and inefficient that teams pitch to them like they're an expansion club full of rookies and grizzled vets on their way out. Obviously, this scenario is mind boggling. Yet the Yankees still find themselves in the thick of things.
So how exactly can we do it this year? What has to be done to make it 14 straight Octobers in a row for the final season at the Stadium? Well, just play every single game left on the schedule like they did last night. Simple, right? The Yankees 7-1 victory over the A's (one of the teams looking down at the Yankees in the Wild Card race) has to become a microcosm of what the Yankees second half will be. They did it all last night. The pitching was outstanding and the offense hit in every situation including production out of newly acquired Richie Sexson who went 1-3 with an RBI and his first strikeout of what will be an obscene amount. What was even more encouraging was that Robinson Cano is continuing his ascent from the land of .220 hitters. And of course, the poster boy for emotional therapy Alex Rodriguez had another stellar game, blasting his 20th home run of the season. Whatever people think of him personally, there is still no bigger thrill than seeing possibly the greatest player of all time hitting one out of the ballpark.
So here we are again, kinda. The Yankees have to win a bunch of games in the second half to make the playoffs. This time, it's the bats that have to wake up and play some ball.
Around The Horn: I'd like to take this opportunity to thank our author Dan Hanzus for inviting me to write in his absence. DH and I have been close friends since college and I have yet to come through for him when he asks for help. Hopefully I'll fill in better here than when I went 1-5 with 2 errors on one play which cost his team a softball game in which I was asked to fill in by our fearless author. Thanks for the second chance.