Okay, so ITM stalled yesterday, but really it shouldn't go unmentioned, even though we all know it already. The Yankees clinched a playoff appearance Tuesday night with the Texas loss. Hopefully you were aware of the scenario and didn't just wake up this morning to catch a glimpse of that nasty little "z" that sprouted up over night in the standings box like a malignant mole. But there it is nonetheless. So congrats go out from ITM. It was an impressive season for the Pinstripes.
But, that doesn't mean the focus of this post won't be the questions swirling in the Bronx. If I have to spend my week hearing about the Marks (Sanchez and Texeira), I'm allowed to push back a little.
And the big issue is still pitching. Even though the Yanks have held their own in Los Angeles / Anaheim, and although run production and hitting with RISP has been down over the last month, the city is still fretting over the arms. They got some relief the other night when Andy Pettitte came back with a solid performance. But as they get nearer to clinching the league's best record, the focus is more and more on Joba Chamberlain.
After the most recent shallacking, even Joe Girardi is vocally underwhelmed, and sounds like anything but a man prepared to put his playoff success (and therefore his future with the organization) into the kid's hands. The Yankees now look all but certain to take the three-man rotation ALDS series, throwing CC, AJ, and Pettitte. But don't think they're too happy about that second option: Burnett hasn't gotten a win since August 7th in Boston and he seems icnreasingly to buckle with runners on base.
Also, Pettitte isn't the only recent injury concern: David Robertson, the 24 year old righty the Yankees have been using behind Phil Hughes, has been out with stiffness for almost two weeks now. He threw a 20 pitch session yesterday and is reportedly healthy, but the timetable is unclear. The bullpen should be significantly shored with the addition of Joba, but that brings us to the last concern:
Are the Yankees really going to throw Joba in relief in the ALDS, then ask him to start Game 4 of the ALCS? Is this the same guy to whom they were scared to give an extra off day between starts earlier in the season because it threw him out of whack? But he's going to make that seamless transition in October? And when he starts, he's going to go double the innings he's been asked to give since the All-Star break?
Phew, I'm glad I got that off my chest. And now that I did, let's admit that this post was really about three things: 1) a knee-jerk response to a hell of a strong season from the Yankees; 2) somewhat legitimate pitching conerns; and 3) the fact that I'm still scared to death of Daisuke even touching a baseball in October and Josh Beckett's September 2009 Tom Brady impression. And what about Manny Delcarmen? Who's gonna bridge the gap to Wagner? Do you trust Ramirez? Okay, breathe, breathe, it's September. Save some hyperventilating for October.