Yanks aren't perfect, but lead divsion

It has been a trying season for New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (left) and aging player Jorge...

It has been a trying season for New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (left) and aging player Jorge Posada (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

Mike Rutsey, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 4:14 AM ET

In the city that never sleeps, angst is on the prowl.
Now that the end-of-the-world, cataclysmic events that were supposed to start on the east coast on Saturday at 6 p.m. proved to be false, New Yorkers can get back to more serious discussions — as in dissecting their beloved Yankees.
It has been a puzzler of a season for the Bronx Bombers to date, a head-scratcher that has beguiled the normal chain of events.
Just over a quarter of the season has gone by and of the Yankees this much is true:

  • Their veteran stars finally are slowing down and on a rapid decline;
  • They are hitting the ball out of the park with reckless enthusiasm;
  • Their starting pitching doesn’t look to be good enough to carry this team into the postseason.

There is little separation in the standings between the American League East teams. The Yankees are in first place, only four games ahead of the basement-dwelling Orioles.
A week ago, there was the Jorge Posada aging diva drama but while Posada is no longer stamping his feet and threatening to quit, the problem still exists. Just what do the Yankees do with over-the-hill players such as Posada, with legendary shortstop Derek Jeter not far behind?
Can the Yankees continue to carry players who either shouldn’t be playing or are occupying batting slots no longer suited to their skills, such as Jeter batting leadoff?
It’s a hard nut for manager Joe Girardi to crack.
As far as problems go, having an offence that relies on the home run for so much of its production is a problem worth having.
It may be great during the regular season as there isn’t a team out there that can murder mediocre pitching like the Yankees. But in the post-season, when pitching is the name of the game, the Yankees, providing they get there, will be vulnerable.
In the interim, the long ball is king and to date the Yankees have hit more home runs — 71 — than doubles — 62.
Leading the pack for the Yankees is a surprise character in Curtis Granderson, who has belted 16. Three other Yankees grace the top 10 in Mark Teixeira, with 12, while Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez both have nine.
In his Sunday column in the New York Post, Joel Sherman dug up a few nuggets. He pointed out that heading into Sunday’s game, the Yankees did not have a player in the top 64 in batting average with runners in scoring position (minimum 25 plate appearances) — but they had four players in the bottom 52: Posada (.160), Nick Swisher (.171), Rodriguez (.182) and Jeter (.186).
Given that the Yankees lead the league in runs scored, that’s almost impossible to achieve.
But there they are, batting for first place.
It has been that type of season.

mike.rutsey@sunmedia.ca


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