(Hope that elbow is 100%. Courtesy of The AP)
Yesterday was a much needed off day for the Yankees as they traveled to Cleveland for a weekend series against Harry Doyle and the Indians, whose manager Manny Acta just got the dreaded vote of confidence from upper management. If there's a team that could help the Yankees get on track, it's probably one like the Indians who are playing poorly enough to get their manager the VOC. And people, the Yankees need to get on track.
The 10-game division lead has evaporated down to just 2.5 games after Tampa Bay's win last night. You have to give credit where credit is due, Tampa is playing out of their minds good right now. Everybody in the rotation is pitching lights out, the offense is better with Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce back, and they're going out and winning game after game while the Yankees struggle to put 3 decent innings together. This last month is shaping up to be an exciting one, and hopefully the injuries haven't caught up to the Yanks so much that they lose what should have been an insurmountable lead. But before they get started in Cleveland tonight, I'd like to take this time normally reserved for game recaps to empty the old memory bank.
- I know I can't be the only one nervous about CC's 2nd comeback start tonight. After an elbow injury, you know he will be on a pretty strict pitch count, I'd guess 90-95. If he's got his fastball command, that should be good for 6-7 innings. If he doesn't, the bullpen's going to have their work cut out for them.
- As awesome as his season has been, I don't see Derek Jeter as a real MVP candidate. He might pick up some votes on the back end of the top 10, but nothing serious.
- Speaking of which, Robinson Cano is pretty much off that map too at this point. I know it's an arbitrary stat, but 68 RBI for him seems incredibly low. I feel like he should have at least 80 with the kind of months he had in June and July.
- Eric Chavez might have a real chance at Comeback Player if he can stay hot through season's end, but I'm betting he loses out to Adam Dunn, who's back putting up huge power numbers and is a media favorite.
- Who would have believed that it would be late August and the 2 best hitters in the Yankee lineup would be Jeter and Chavez? Shows how much of a funk the offense is in.
- What would Joe's suspension have been if he made his way to that heckler the other night during his postgame presser and punched the guy's lights out? 10 games? 20 games? The rest of the season?
- .302/.323/.469, .340 wOBA. Yeah, I think the Yankees can call the Ichiro trade a good one now. Although it would be nice to see him walk a little more.
- Michael Pineda has certainly set himself up for a lot of hatred in a hurry from the fans next season if he struggles. I hope he's not one of those mental midgets who "can't hack it" in the New York spotlight, because the first time he blows up at The Stadium in 2013 that light is going to be on him and the boos are going to be raining down.
- Can it just be SOP with this roster from now on that Raul Ibanez is never left in to face a left-handed pitcher late in a game? I'm sick and tired of seeing Joe do that. It's mind-numbingly stupid, especially coming from a manager who loves to play matchups.
- If the situation gets any worse in the middle relief, the Yankees are going to be forced to do something, and Ryota Igarashi is not the answer. There were reports of Joba possibly being sent down, which is a swap I would make for Cory Wade. And if Cody Eppley keeps struggling, I'd send him down and call up Chase Whitley. You can't continue to go on with no bridge to the 8th and 9th innings.
- If Hiroki Kuroda said he would sign a 2-year/$24 million deal right now, Cash would have to make that deal, right? The future plans for the rotation are pretty well shot right now, and I don't see Phil Hughes around after next season.
- Nick Swisher is looking more and more like somebody the Yanks should at least try to keep around too. He's got a .353 wOBA, he's on pace for 24 HR and 90 RBI, and he can still play a good left field. Even with the injuries, Swish hasn't fallen off as much as C-Grand this year, if at all, and there's no way he's getting Jayson Werth money. The Yankees at least owe it to themselves to make a qualifying offer.
- If there's one injury I can't say I'm upset about it's the Dellin Betances one. What an absolute joke he's been this season. People can make whatever excuses they want for him, but at the end of the day he's a guy who's been around the Minors for a long time and completely shit the bed this season. Starter, reliever, who gives a shit at this point?
- I'm curious to see what the catching situation will look like next ST if Austin Romine stays healthy, does well in the AZ Fall League, and has a strong camp. He won't win the starting job, but he could put himself in the driver's seat for the backup job.
- We've already heard the rumors about Mo coming back in 2013, and I believe he will be back. But I don't think for one second Andy Pettitte is coming back next year, regardless of what happens with him through the remainder of this season.
- Is Melky Mesa a prospect again? Dude's been showing a lot of power this year and it hasn't stopped since he got called up to Triple-A. He's already 25 and the Yankees need a young OF. Now's as good a time as any for him to finally put it all together.
- The reports yesterday didn't make it sound terrible, but with the injury being to his rotator cuff, I'm coming out right now and saying that Ivan Nova is done for the year. He will not pitch another inning.
- I'm basing this on nothing more than my own gut feeling, but I think the Yankees will start to right the ship this weekend. They'll take 2 of 3 from Cleveland, go into next week with some momentum, and the big bats will start to come alive again.