With the playoffs less than 24 hours away, its time to recap the bizarre season of the New York Yankees. Now before anyone jumps down my throat about being a ‘bandwagon’ fan or ‘frontrunner’, I have been a fan for 24 years now and am a legacy fan. Also, the two years I lost off my live after the 2004 ALCS collapse more than covered me for the appropriate amount of fan suffrage. On with the review:
The Good – Chien Ming Wang with yet another season as the best starter on the team, Phil Hughes shows glipses of brilliance, Ian Kennedy showing promise in his limited number of starts, Clemens being around to teach the youngsters, Andy Pettitte in August, Matsui in August, Robinson Cano in the 2nd half, Shelley Duncan for the week he was allowed to hit and just for his dougout presence, Melky Cabrera’s arm, the highly choreographed celebrations between Cano and Melky, Derek Jeter somewhat for his play and mostly for his facial expressions, Rivera except for the very start and very end of the season, Joe Torre’s calming influence, Posada and whatever age regression therapy he has going on, that one relief appearance Kei Igawa made against the Red Sox back in April, pretty much everything ARod did, and of course Joba.
The bad – Joe Torre’s questionable bullpen management (what I like to call the Quantril effect, named for former Yankee reliever Pual Quantril who Torre abused so much that I believe he died on the mound), Abreu in the first half, Cano in the first half, Clemens and his 45 year old body literally breaking down before our eyes, Johnny Damon when in CF, almost every pitcher in april and may, fans and analysts who were outraged the Yankees didnt trade Melky Cabrera or Ian Kennedy for Eric Gagne, and the entire team thru may 29th.
The ugly – most starts made by Mike Mussina and his little league-esque velocity, all the appearances made by Kei Igawa other than the one mentioned above, my level of trust in anyone in the bullpen not named Mo or Joba, my prediction of 95 losses for the team after one particularly devastating losing streak, and the fact Carl Pavano made $11M for four starts.
A look ahead – I cant say the Indians and their 0-6 record against the Yankees scares me. I know the Yanks only faced Carmona once and CC Sabathia nonce, but they beat Carmona and have a tremendous history against CC. This does have striking parallels to last season, when the Tigers and their 2-5 record against the Yanks didnt scare me. The Yanks also had an insanely good history against one of their starters (Kenny Rogers) and had shelled their best pitcher earlier in the season (Verlander). So, you could say I am worried about my lack of worry going into this series. I am however seriously worried about going into another game 4 down 2-1 with a very suspect starter on the mound (Mussina this year, Jaret Wright last year). Whatever happens, let’s just hope it doesn’t end with ANOTHER Yankees-Red Sox epic ALCS, while it would be a fitting third part to their epic ALCS trilogy (2003 – Boone’s walkoff in extra innings of game 7, 2004 – the collapse best summed up with a mental image of Kevin Brown); I just dont think I can mentally and physically survive the anguish of a possible seven 4.5 hour long games against the Red Sox over the course of less than two weeks.
Until next time, comments highly encouraged…