Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yankees chugging along despite problems

The New York Yankees are leading the much vaunted, but so far pretty weak American League East, chugging along nicely despite all their problems. How long will it last?

It’s still early in the season, but right now the Yankees are the only team in baseball’s toughest division with a winning record. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that AL East teams are playing and beating up on each other so much early in the season. But these teams definitely have some problems. The pitching of the Boston Red Sox has been atrocious and newcomer Carl Crawford still hasn’t found his stroke although I still feel that the Saux could turn things around pretty quickly. But all the defections have hit the Tampa Bay Rays harder than everyone thought and that young stud rotation hasn’t yet made up the difference.

Not to say the Yankees don’t have problems. Quite the opposite. They’ve managed to claw their way to the top of the division despite having to put young Phil Hughes, who was supposed to be a reliable member of the rotation, on the disabled list, leaving them with a rotation in which has-beens such as Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon will play prominent roles for the foreseeable future. They’ve won games despite the fact that neither Derek Jeter nor Brett Gardner has hit enough to claim the leadoff spot, with Gardner being pushed back to the bottom of the lineup. And the injuries are piling up, whether it be Pedro Feliciano’s arm (which will keep him out for six weeks, if not the entire year) and Alex Rodriguez’s hip (which hopefully won’t sideline him beyond a few days).

Can the Yankees continue to stay on top despite all these problems? There is enough talent on the team to like their chances. They have their horse in CC Sabathia, who unlike many of his counterparts manages to keep his team in games even when he doesn’t have his good stuff. And Mariano Rivera continues to prove that there is a fountain of youth (or that he isn’t really human) by converting seven saves in seven chances without breaking a sweat. Of course, I’m partial but I think the fact that the Yankees are doing so well despite all their issues and injuries bodes well for them for the rest of the baseball season.

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