Sunday, August 9, 2015
TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF FOR MY YANKEES
Lately, I have stepped back and realized that my articles have mainly been directed at the mismanagement of personnel at second base. I’ve constantly criticized Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi for their obsession with playing Stephen Drew at the position. He’s never hit above .199 in a Yankees uniform and has been average in the field, yet he remains their consistent choice as the starting second baseman in spite of better hitters (Brendan Ryan and Rob Refsnyder) and just as capable fielders waiting in the wings.
I have written about it again and again, yet haven’t given nearly enough credit to what the team as a whole has done. As I write this article, the Yankees sit atop the AL East – where they have been for virtually the entire season – and come off taking two of three from the Red Sox.
During the recently concluded series, we all received a glimpse into the team’s future at starting pitcher with a stellar (albeit losing) performance by 21-year-old Luis Severino. He’s one of our special “home grown” stars that is shooting his way through our system, and based upon his historic performance (he was the first pitcher in AL history with 2 hits or fewer, no walks, and at least 7 strikeouts in his MLB debut), he might never return to the minor leagues.
Sure, we just lost 2 to the Blue Jays, but I still feel quite good about what we are accomplishing and how everything is coming together lately.
For the most part, this season the team is blessed with what may be the best bullpen in MLB, and the top of the lineup (Gardner, Ellsbury, ARod, and Teixeira) has been producing at an incredible rate. Catcher Brian McCann is playing like the Brian McCann the team looked for when signing him prior to last season and Carlos Beltran has stayed healthy enough to be productive. Didi Gregorius began the season making mistake after mistake in the field and hitting at a Stephen Drew rate at the plate, yet he has turned himself completely around in both areas – becoming one of our best fielders and clutch hitters.
All in all, this team is doing things that prior successful Yankee squads have done. Recently they went through a ten game span where they scored 90 runs. Of the previous three Yankees teams to accomplish that feat, two went to the World Series and one lost in the divisional round of the playoffs. That bodes well for our Bombers.
In any case, I’ve been guilty at not “seeing the forest through the trees”. Yes, our team has issues – as does every one of our opponents – in certain spots. Aside from second base, our starting rotation walks a tightrope every week. We have an ace (Tanaka) trying to play with a condition that should eventually require surgery to correct. Michael Pineda now has elbow issues. Ivan Nova has recently returned from Tommy John surgery. CC Sabathia is either really, really good or really, really bad on a start-by-start basis, and Nathan Eovaldi has been wildly inconsistent.
Yankees fans hold their collective breath with each of our starters. Yet, somehow we are winning. Our “goods” have out-weighed our “bads”, and that really is what any of us can only hope for.
From here on, I’m going to concentrate on the team as a whole, and not its flaws within. This season has the potential to be a very special one, and I want to enjoy the ride. I’m not going to be the grumpy old man sitting in a rocker on the porch lamenting the fact that it’s going to rain someday soon even though there are nothing but blue skies and a fresh breeze outside. I’m going to enjoy the moment and appreciate what we have.
I’m proud of this team, and so should every Yankee fan. Let’s see what the rest of this season brings, and believe in the success that has already unfolded in front of us.
--Steve Skinner, BYB Senior Writer
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