Up until last night's game, the New York Yankees had the longest stretch of games (26) without a winning streak of any first place team in MLB history. Truly unbelievable. The tendency in New York is to feel that the sky is falling— though lately, it's hard to blame Yankee fans for being a bit down on their team.
The Yankees inconsistent play has left many wondering if they're going to the postseason or playing themselves out of it. Two straight victories in Boston help to calm some fears, but two runs last night against a pitcher (Felix Doubront) that entered the game with an ERA over 5.00 is hardly reason to rejoice.
The Yankees were saved by an absolutely brilliant pitching performance from Phil Hughes who continues to have a very solid season for the Yankees. Phil Hughes is 14-8 with a 3.46 ERA since May 6th and yet has been maligned by many fans for much of the year.
Yankees fans need to wake up and realize that Phil Hughes is a big reason why this team is still atop the AL East division.
Now, the Yankees enter a weekend series at Yankee Stadium with even more on the line, as they look to fend off the pesky, yet reeling Rays, who were just swept in dramatic fashion in Baltimore. The Rays are not a very good hitting team and the Yankees pitchers need to take advantage and shut them down.
The Bombers send CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova (his first start since August 21st) and Hiroki Kuroda to the bump this weekend in New York. They'll be opposed on the mound by Cy Young award favorite, David Price, then James Shields and Matt Moore.
Pushing a two-game winning streak to three necessitates consistency—at least in the form of finishing baseball games. The Yankees' chances of a series victory this weekend will be boosted by solid run production from the batting order. Though if CC Sabathia can shut down Tampa, maybe one run or even two (like last nigh) will be all the Bombers need.
Baseball is a hard enough sport to predict but lately it's become a fool's errand to try and prognosticate the Bombers' fortunes. They're still not hitting with runners in scoring position but the pitching has improved over the last several days. The Yanks' hitting against left-handed pitching? Not so much.
Here is the best summation of the Bombers, with a bow to Hollywood great Clint Eastwood, as we present the good, the bad and the ugly current state of the 2012 New York Yankees.