Written on 4:49 PM by Jack B.
Those who have read my previous posts on the Yankees this season know I haven't been at all optimistic. Several times I've even written them off. At no time have I allowed myself to get that excited about their chances. Their playing has been uneven and at times more than mediocre, their middle relief pitching has been horrible and their starting pitching has been hurt and erratic. They've hit but not always in the clutch. Outside of Mariano Rivera, no one on this team is a sure thing and it seems that outside of a couple days all season they've been playing catch-up - outside of the playoff picture and behind the Red Sox for the first time in years.
Yet with all that they've won over 90 games, have one of the best records in the majors and a one game lead in the American League East going into the last 3 games of the season - all against their arch-enemy, the Boston Red Sox, who so notoriously embarrassed the Yankees last season in the AL Championship Series on their way to their firstWorld Series title since they traded Babe Ruth to New York. The Yankee aura of invincibility was forever broken and my faith in them greatly shattered.
Yet here we are, all they have to do is win 2 out of 3 from the Red Sox in Boston and the East is theirs, even if they win just 1 out of 3, they can force a one-game playoff. If they play well enough and the Indians win their games against Chicago they might even be able to push the Red Sox out of the playoffs altogether (wouldn't that be sweet after last season?). But that's a lot of ifs and the Yankees this season if anything have been inconsistent. Yet for the first time this season I'm going to try to be optimistic and let the chips fall where they may. Have some faith that the Yankees themselves want it more than the Red Sox do. Have some faith the Yankees themselves want it as much as their fans do. Have some faith period.
The one thing the Yankees should NOT do is give Big Papi, David Ortiz, anything good to hit. Manny Ramirez may be a future Hall of Famer but I'm not afraid of pitching to him. Ortiz, by contrast, is a Yankee killer and the Yanks can't let him beat them. Ortiz really is the MVP of the American League this year (and I say that as someone who loathes the Red Sox), his team would be nowhere without his clutch hitting. His nearest competition for the award, Alex Rodriquez of the Yankees, while being the better overall player is not even the "most valuable player" on the Yankees (that would be Mariano Rivera). If a guy (even one who maybe the best player in the major league) is not even the MVP of his own team, should he really be the MVP of the league? I don't think so.
Meanwhile, it's just a few hours till the Battle for the East commences. I'm holding out hope against hope: Go Yankees!