Are the Yankees just an 88-win team, as my teammate, Wally Matthews, examines in his latest column? Wally writes:
But over the course of an entire season, the Yankees' 27-23 record in the first 50 games projects to 87.48 wins at the end of the season -- OK, round it up to 88 -- and that probably won't even be enough to get them the second wild-card spot.
Understanding that 50 games is not a definitive sample, and teams like the Yankees can be capable of running off long stretches of winning baseball (in fact, they had the same record after 50 games a year ago and went 70-42 the rest of the way). But a fairly representative chunk of games has already been played.
The Yankees' problems have alternated from not enough pitching to a failure to hit in the clutch, which is why Yankees GM Brian Cashman thinks that a "market correction" is coming.
"In some cases, we have underperformed," Cashman said. "Offensively, clearly, with runners in scoring position, it doesn't reflect our abilities whatsoever. There should be a market correction that would be a significant flow of run production at some point."
The Yankees are hitting .223 with RISP, which is 26th in baseball.
Cashman is quick to point out that everyone has injuries and the Yankees are no exception. They lost their closer (Mariano Rivera) and a starter (Michael Pineda) for the season and their left fielder (Brett Gardner) and setup man (David Robertson) for significant time and counting.
"Our team has shown some fortitude and resiliency," Cashman said.
The rest of the AL East has, as well. I think the O's, while better, are still headed back to the cellar. The Rays have the best pitching. The Red Sox have the best hitting. The Jays have a little of both, but do they have enough of either? And then there are the Yankees -- the team most people who read this blog probably watch the most -- who might be the toughest to define. Is this what they are? A team on pace to win 88 games? Are they aging? Or simply, are the Yankees, as Cashman proposes, about to see all the clutch hits come together and go on a run?
If I had to predict, I'd probably go with the last one -- a run of runs and wins is about come. But who knows?
Only one guarantee here: It will be fun to watch.
ON DECK: Which minor leaguer is exciting Cashman the most this year? Find out at 10:15 a.m. Our usual What2Watch4 from Mark Simon will be up around noon.
IN THE HOLE: None other than First Take/Numbers Don't Lie/columnist/radio host/hot dog maven/barbershop owner -- and now covering the Yankees for us this weekend in his hometown of Detroit -- Rob Parker will be handling things from Comerica. These are the pitching matchups he will be opining on: On Friday, CC Sabathia (6-2, 3.66 ERA) vs. Casey Crosby (MLB debut). On Saturday, it is Hiroki Kuroda (4-6, 3.96 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (3-5, 5.21). Sunday, it is Phil Hughes (4-5, 5.64) against Justin Verlander (5-3, 2.55).
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Will the Yankees have a "market correction?"