First Pitch: Nothing to worry about
June, 27, 2012
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
Tim Farrell/US PresswireThings are just peachy in pinstripes these days.Really. And when was the last time you felt like that about the Yankees?
Just about everyone is healthy. Just about everyone is hitting. All five of their starting pitchers are performing well. And even their RISP management has improved.
When things are going like this, it makes you wonder just how good a season these Yankees will wind up having.
Then again, considering the pessimism that is the nature of most fans, it might also be a signal to start wondering how long it can all last, and where the next crisis will come from.
You want to create problems, you can obsess over Cory Wade, who had an awful ninth inning last night, turning a 6-0 laugher into a 6-4 head-scratcher.
Since May 28, when Wade allowed a walkoff home run in Anaheim to Mark Trumbo of the Angels, he is 0-1 with two blown saves in 12 appearances, a span of 8-2/3 innings, in which he has allowed four home runs. Worst of all, his ERA over that period is a whopping 10.38.
Until that point, Wade was a valuable member of the bullpen, a go-to guy in the sixth and seventh innings while waiting for David Robertson and Rafael Soriano to come in and finish.
AP Photo/Kathy WillensNow 38, Derek Jeter still has some skip in his step.
But you know what? Over the period of Wade's decline, the Yankees are 19-6 and have gone from third place in the AL East, 2-1/2 games back, to the top of the division, four games in front of the Orioles.
With Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma making progress in their attempts to return from Tommy John surgery, Wade has another month at least to work out his problems in games like last night's. So if that's the biggest problem we can come up with right now, well, the Yankees don't have any real problems at all.
Yes, Russell Martin's back in still a little sore, and Joe Girardi now acknowledges there's no way Brett Gardner is coming back before the end of July, but so what?
The way things are going, I wouldn't expect the Yankees to be very active at the trading deadline unless catastrophe strikes in the next three weeks.
Tuesday night, they went 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position. They got a timely hit with the bases loaded. They even got a home run, for a change. The fact that it came from Alex Rodriguez is also encouraging, even if their slugging third baseman is still hitting HRs less frequently (1 in 20 ABs) this season than in any other season of his career other than 2011, when he hit just 16.
Those are pretty meager problems for a club with one 40-year-old, one 38-year-old and one 37-year-old in its everyday lineup and another 40-year-old in its starting rotation. And a club that lost a 23-year-old starter in spring training and its future Hall of Fame closer a month into the season.
The general rule of thumb is, if things seem too good to be true, they usually are.
Right now, things are really, really good in Yankeeland.
Which leads us to the Question of the Day: How long do you think they will stay this way? And if trouble is on the way, where do you think it will come from? You know where to tell us, and how.
Up now: Johnette Howard's column on Derek Jeter, who celebrated the big 3-8 yesterday. Plus, some blog items from last night's 6-4 win over the Orioles.
On deck: Quick turnaround for today's 1:05 series finale against the Indians, Andy Pettitte (3-3, 3.29) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-5, 4.59). The inimitable Andrew Marchand will have all the news from the clubhouse starting from when the doors open at 9:20 a.m. A little later, Mark Simon will have a What2Watch4 in today's game. I'll be live chatting Yankees at noon, so please join in. And as always, thanks for reading.