I’m beginning to get a little disgusted of the coverage of the Yankees this year — and it’s still early.
As the wins begin to mount, so do the injuries. It just so happens that most of the injuries are occurring to the older players on the team, and this instills panic in almost everyone.
From ESPN.com (notoriously anti-Yankee) to the New York Times (hardly the best sports coverage in the city), and from the Daily News (notoriously anti-Yankee Mike Lupica) to the New York Post, headlines scream that the “old” Yankees are in trouble.
I am beginning to get disturbed at the injuries as well, but I am not about to throw in the towel on this season, nor am I going to panic that the Yankees will suddenly stop performing.
The Yankees have opened their season winning 19 of their first 27 games, and they have yet to see any results from the likes of Mark Teixeira or Alex Rodriguez!
Regardless of age, all of the players have contributed.
Jorge Posada, 38 years old, hits a home run one day, then he gets injured.
Francisco Cervelli, 24 years old, steps in and hits a huge triple against the Orioles and is named Player of the Game.
Andy Pettitte, 37 years old, goes 4-0 in six starts. He gets injured and we realize that the rest of the Yankee starters are 12-1, including 23-year-old Phil Hughes.
If age is supposed to help, I guess it doesn’t when Javier Vazquez, 33 years old, has been atrocious; he has a few years on Andy, but has been light years away in terms of performance.
Mariano Rivera, 40 years old, gets seven saves in ten appearances. He complains of some stiffness, steps aside for a couple of days, and then Joba Chamberlain, 24 years old, promptly picks up a save.
Three of the top four batting averages belong to players 27 years of age or under (Cervelli, Cano and Gardner).
Derek Jeter, 35 years old, which I guess makes him one of the “Old Yankees,” is only batting .310 with four HR and 21 RBI through 26 games played, which projects roughly to a .300-20-120 season.
Injuries are a bad thing — with that I will not disagree — but EVERY team has to deal with them.
I think the Yankees management knows enough about baseball to have a contingency plan and not rely too much on their players who are 35-to-40 years old.
Granted, the Core Four are critical cogs in the Yankee machine, and without them, the Yankees are not likely to match the success of 2009.
With the emergence of Cano as a legitimate star, Gardner as a spark plug, and Cervelli as possible catcher of the future (who can also hit), I don’t think the Yankees are in bad shape.
This is especially true when those three are performing in the top tier of major leaguers through 27 games (one-sixth of the season).
With all of this talk, one needs only look at the standings to see that the Yankees are not done performing at a high level. 19 wins, 8 losses, everyone contributing.
Similar to a championship college football team that relies mostly on its seniors, the Yankees are indeed relying heavily on their seniors (i.e. the Core Four).
The fact that three of the four are injured is not a good thing, obviously.
Similarly to the college football team, if the seniors teach enough to the younger players, the team will remain strong.
Watch a Yankee game, and you will see the dynamics of the Yankee dugout. Cervelli hangs with Posada. Hughes hangs with Pettitte. Joba hangs with Mariano.
The three elder players are injured, but the younger ones are not. All of that is not happening by mistake.
Yes, I think the 19-8 Yankees will be just fine. Only time will tell if the 28th championship is in their future.