As they do every Monday, River Ave Blues posted its Fan Confidence Poll yesterday. I didn’t get a chance to say much more than one comment in the thread, so I thought I’d do so here in a post.
For the immediate future–that is the rest of the season and the playoffs–I’m very confident. Despite some flaws–mostly the rotation at this point–the Yankees have the best record in baseball. Let’s break it down more specifically:
Starting with the back end, there’s the bullpen. As of right now, I’m supremely confident in the Yankees’ bullpen. Yeah, it’s never a good idea to be supremely confident in a bullpen considering how volatile relievers tend to be, but with Boone Logan pitching so well against lefties, as well as the three-headed eighth inning monster of Kerry Wood, Joba Chamberlain, and One who Wears High Socks, I’m very confident. And, of course, there’s Mariano effing Rivera. No matter who is at the plate, I’m confident that Mariano will get him out.
Then we move to the rotation and, like I said in my post at RAB, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t give me a least a small pause. CC Sabathia is being his usual self and that’s great, but the rest of the rotation–Ivan Nova, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, and Javier Vazquez–has me worried. But, just like the relievers, starters can be volatile, too. At the end of this month when the playoffs are about to start, all five of these guys could be rolling and we’ll forget all about their struggles.
Phil Hughes hasn’t been terribly sharp of late; Javier Vazquez just can’t find that midseason groove; A.J. Burnett has improved in his last two starts, so hopefully that’s the start of something; Ivan Nova is still an unknown quantity; and, of course, we’re all holding our breaths on Andy Pettitte. We’ll all feel a lot better if/when he comes back and pitches, but until then, we’re cautiously optimistic.
The lineup also doesn’t give me much of a concern, because, well, it’s the Yankees and they know how to mash. Still, though, it’s frustrating to see Derek Jeter in the leadoff or two spot every single game. He’s OPSing around .630 since the start of July and this is no longer a slump: it’s a bad season. I’m not saying he should be platooned–because I do not want Ramiro Pena getting any more at bats than he should–but the Yankees should at least considering dropping Jeter against RHP. I’d propose these lineups:
1. Jeter (hard to GIDP out of the leadoff spot)
It would also be awesome for A-Rod to turn back into his normal self, and he has hit well in his two games back. Still, the Yankees have the most complete lineup in the game and I’d take it over any lineup in baseball at this point.
Basically, I think the 2010 Yankees are in very good shape. Whatever flaws they have are flaws shared by the the other 29 teams in Major League Baseball. This is something we need to remember. It is not a bad thing to point out the Yankees’ flaws and suggest things that need to be improved. But, we must do that with perspective. If the Yankees have a problem, chances are the other teams in baseball have it or had it at some point during the season. While we may be disappointed that we haven’t seen the 2010 Yankees click on all cylinders at the same time just yet, we should keep it in the back of our heads–or the front–that that fact means the Yankees could unleash their full potential on everyone else at any moment. I have faith they’ll do that during the playoffs.