“It’s Critical Now”

That was Damon’s response to a reporter’s post-game question regarding the status of the ’08 Yankees.  The Yankee season truly appears over before Sept (let alone Oct) for the first time in more than a decade.  No, a 3.5 game deficit in the WC race is not insurmountable nor is 6.5 back in the division.  Just ask the Mets.  But as of right now, the Yankee rotation is Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Sidney Ponson, Dan Giese, and Darrell Rasner.  And even if Joba returns, the pitching is finally showing the cracks it has somehow hidden for much of the year.  After compiling a 1.56 team ERA over the course of their 8-game win-streak, the Yankee arms have a 7.29 ERA in the ten games since.  Even if Joba is only to miss one start this team may already be cooked, but if he is to miss more, it’s safe to say that all signs point to "maybe next year".

So below is the start of a guide to what Yankee fans can be watching for even as dreams of October ball fade.  Mussina’s chase of 20 and Jeter’s pursuit of Ruth are exciting and would be great moments to celebrate in the Stadium if possible.  But there’s not much else to root for right now, other than good healing and rehab for Joba, Wang, Posada, Matsui, Hughes, and Kennedy and an off-season that brings – first and foremost – another starter to the rotation.  Preferably a rotund Brewer.

  • Mussina needs 6 more wins to notch his first 20-win season (and arguably take the last large step needed – even if only symbolically – for serious HoF consideration);
  • Jeter needs 44 more hits to pass Babe Ruth’s mark of 2,518 for second on the all-time hits list for a Yankee (a couple hundred back of Gehrig) and 151 more ABs to pass Mickey Mantle for most all-time for a Yankee.  Oh…and 3 more GIDPs to pass Mattingly for second most for a Yankee (still far behind Bernie but gaining quickly);
  • Mo needs ten more saves to pass Lee Smith’s mark of 478 for second on the career saves list (likely the highest he will rank given that Trevor Hoffman is still adding to his first-place total of 547);
  • A-Rod needs 7 more HRs to pass Mike Schmidt’s mark of 548 for twelfth on the all-time list;
  • The Yankees need one more accused-and-then-fired Dominican Republic-assigned scout to pull even with the Red Sox in most-corrupt-scouts-in-a-season;
  • Ronan Tynan and Kate Smith need 0 more renditions of God Bless America to win most tired act in sports;
  • With A-Rod’s two HBPs tonight, he tied and passed Derek Jeter for 27th on the all-time list for career HBPs.  Can’t wait to watch that race go down to the wire this season and beyond.

Feel free to add.

52 comments… add one
  • Thanks for that hilarious (well, ok, semi-hilarious) list!
    I’m still mad at Craig Biggio for not getting intentionally plunked down the stretch last year to become the all time HBP leader. Grrrr…completely random sports gripe :D

    Sam August 6, 2008, 6:48 am
  • you need to add the Yankee Stadium grounds crew dancing to “YMCA” to Tynan and Smith, IH!

    SF August 6, 2008, 6:49 am
  • Preferably a rotund Brewer.
    What? Prince Fielder isn’t a pitcher!

    Atheose August 6, 2008, 8:50 am
  • Hey, no one knows better than us that you guys are never out of it. It might look bleak, but you are still breathing. I won’t believe it until I see the fat Tynan sing.

    I'mBillMcNeal August 6, 2008, 9:09 am
  • A rotund Brewer: Was Augie Busch fat? Samuel Adams?

    I'mBillMcNeal August 6, 2008, 9:10 am
  • Yeah, I’ve held too many “Yankees Elimination” parties in the 10 years I’ve been a Sox fan, and been disappointed every time. Not buying the champagne until late September.

    Atheose August 6, 2008, 9:15 am
  • Sorry to hijack, but this vid is pretty funny if nobody has seen it –
    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2008/08/pied_papi.html
    Dr. Andrews is never good. Here’s my guess: No surgery, shut it down for the year and rest. If you get bad news from one specialist, then go to see Dr. Andrews for a second opinion, the initial news could not have been good. If the first guy had said “slight strain” or maybe “tired arm”, I’m sure Joba would not be in Andrew’s office. Very rarely does he give a good diagnosis.
    But, to avoid sounding like I don’t care, I hope he’s not hurt too bad.

    Brad August 6, 2008, 9:30 am
  • Bay, seemed really unhappy about the whole thing. No smile on his face at all….

    Sam-YF August 6, 2008, 9:47 am
  • Yeah, it’s tough to tell because he’s facing away from the camera during the best parts of the pie attack. For all we know he could have had a giant smile on his face, or maybe he joked around with Ortiz a bit before cleaning himself up.
    Though Bay does seem like a generally quiet, unfun person. He is Canadian, I guess.

    Atheose August 6, 2008, 9:55 am
  • Nothing like an invigorating HBP race to liven up your Setember, eh?

    Paul SF August 6, 2008, 9:59 am
  • By the way, the Royals announcers last night were talking about the Price Fielder/Manny Parra brush-up, and they attributed it to “being in a tight division race”, and said something along the lines of “it shows how passionate the players are to win.”
    So when Manny slaps Youk in the dugout he’s a clubhouse cancer, but when Prince Fielder does it he’s passionate about winning? I hate the media.

    Atheose August 6, 2008, 10:07 am
  • Also, off-topic, but am I the last one to hear about ESPN plastering Los Angeles laundromats with these red socks?
    http://adweek.blogs.com/adfreak/2008/08/manny-ramirez-w.html
    Each one has a little card that says “Lose a sock, Boston? ESPN joins Los Angeles in welcoming Manny Ramirez.” Wtf?

    Atheose August 6, 2008, 10:13 am
  • Ath-
    I posted a link to that story a few days ago. I think its brilliant marketing.

    Sam-YF August 6, 2008, 11:02 am
  • Brilliant marketing? Of what? ESPN or Manny, because good knows they need it? I would say it’s a clever branding gimmick, but hardly brilliant marketing.

    LocklandSF August 6, 2008, 11:11 am
  • Boo fricking hoo. Give us O’s fans a minute or two to move over on the couch so you can join us. “Maybe next year” is a mantra you better start learning now.

    Agategoddess August 6, 2008, 11:23 am
  • Its espn marketing and its effective because we are talking about it. Just getting their name and logo in front of people’s eyes is all they need.

    Sam-YF August 6, 2008, 11:24 am
  • I hate the media.
    Have the Royals announcers said much about Manny Ramirez being a clubhouse cancer? Or discussed the Youk-Manny fight?
    If not, I have a hard time seeing how “the media” — a plural word — have anything to do with this.

    Paul SF August 6, 2008, 11:27 am
  • Agategoddess, I know your pain more than you think – I had season tix to Camden Yards for years when I lived in DC because they were the only b-ball in town (no Nats back then). And no matter how bad things are in NY right now, they don’t compare to Baltimore. I don’t say that to rub it in but to sympathize. Both Sox fans and Yanks fans know that their teams’ owners are committed to winning it all – O’s fans do not enjoy the same luxury and it has little to do with being “small market”. Angelos is a joke of an owner and an undeserved curse on O’s fans.

    IronHorse (yf) August 6, 2008, 11:53 am
  • During the first game of the series they talked about Manny’s attitude hurting the team, and they–specifically Ryan Lefebvre–talked briefly about the altercation with Youk. I don’t have anything to back that up; a quick internet search doesn’t reveal much information.
    Anyone else remember them talking about Manny on Monday?

    Atheose August 6, 2008, 12:48 pm
  • Even if they did, and they very well might have, the idea that two guys fighting in the dugout is an example of how intensely they’re involved in the pennant race seems pretty ridiculous to me. Sounds like your beef is more with the inept KC TV announcers, which is just two people in one market in one medium than the whole media.

    Paul SF August 6, 2008, 12:55 pm
  • Yeah, sorry for blaming the “media” in general. It’s been hard to find good reporting/commentary lately, whether it be journalistic or a different medium. My apologies for making a sweeping generalization.

    Atheose August 6, 2008, 1:01 pm
  • the trade deadline acquisitions made it clear that the yanks are not throwing in the towel this year (or rebuilding). i just have trouble understanding why there was no attempt at getting a starting pitcher. get ready for zambrano and milton to revitalize their careers in a ponson like fashion. you gotta believe b. cash has inquired as to the whereabouts of one livan hernandez.

    sf rod August 6, 2008, 1:46 pm
  • and, as a los angelino, i have yet to see any of these red socks. what i have seen though, is a lot of brand new dodger jerseys that have a two month relevancy lifespan.

    sf rod August 6, 2008, 1:52 pm
  • the rockies claimed livan I believe…

    Sam-YF August 6, 2008, 1:57 pm
  • sf rod, I agree that starting pitching has been the most obvious gap for this team, but it is also the toughest to fill mid-season and I’m not sure where you get the impression that the Yankees made no attempts to get a starter. They tried to get Washburn, who would have been an upgrade over either Rasner or Ponson, but Seattle reportedly would not do so without getting back a top prospect, which the Yankees were (thankfully) unwilling to do.
    I see the Yankees trade deadline moves as very reasonable – try to make an October run but don’t give up anything you feel you are likely to need going forward – especially top young pitching talent. To get Nady, Pudge, and Marte for Farnsworth, Karstens, a troublesome 19-year old Tabata, and a couple other low-mid-level prospects achieved exactly that I think.
    And if Joba is out for multiple games, it would have made a very marginal difference at best in my view if they now had a closer-to-league-average # 4 or # 5 starter, which is the best they could have done at the trading deadline without giving up the future.

    IronHorse (yf) August 6, 2008, 2:10 pm
  • can’t find anything on livan being picked up.
    ih- even with the scarcity of frontline pitchers available at the deadline, i fully expected the yanks to land maddux. the last thing i would have figured was bullpen toiling.

    sf rod August 6, 2008, 2:25 pm
  • Sam-YF August 6, 2008, 2:47 pm
  • Oooh – I don’t know. Maddux is getting rocked in the NLWest. The AL East would destroy him. No disrespect intended – he was a pitching wizard. I just think he is really done. I would have opted for Washburn over Maddux based on results over the past month and competition against whom those results were compiled.
    Notwithstanding recent implosions by Marte, Bruney, etc. it’s not the Yankees bullpen that has let them down. The bullpen has covered up for an incredibly insufficient starting rotation most of the year. I just really don’t think that the patches for the starting rotation were available mid-season at a price that wouldn’t have included one or more of Hughes/Joba/Cano and that would have been an unacceptably high price. I’m with you if Wang and Joba are still in the starting rotation and we’re looking for a # 5 improvement over Ponson or Rasner, but with Wang (and now possibly Joba) out, plus a black hole in the # 5 spot, I don’t think there is anything short of selling the farm that the Yankees could have done before the trading deadline that would have fixed that rotation and I’m glad they didn’t sell the farm. Even if it means no October 2008 for the Yankees, I think it protects their best shots at October 2009 and beyond.

    IronHorse (yf) August 6, 2008, 3:37 pm
  • Rays just tied the game by scoring four in the ninth against Cleveland’s crappy bullpen. Still no out.

    Paul SF August 6, 2008, 3:58 pm
  • Sorry, three in the ninth.

    Paul SF August 6, 2008, 3:59 pm
  • And they win. Gah!

    Devine August 6, 2008, 4:05 pm
  • The Rays have champions written all over how they are playing this year. This team is getting it done every day.

    Sam-YF August 6, 2008, 4:13 pm
  • I still refuse to believe in them. Now it’s just more my stubbornness than anything else, but the Rays are NOT this good, darn it!

    Paul SF August 6, 2008, 4:38 pm
  • You know I predicted the Rays to finish in 3rd and everyone thought I was crazy. I have to admit I didn’t think they would be this good this fast, but I am the opposite of Paul…I refuse to believe that they are going to fade. I think they have weaknesses like all teams do, they aren’t perfect but they have a lot going for them. With McGee and Price and Brignac waiting in the wings, they are going to be good for a long time coming.
    I do however think Navarro is playing out of his mind right now. He’s simply not that good.

    John - YF August 6, 2008, 4:47 pm
  • the ball hit by longoria last nite was one of the most majestic shots i’ve ever seen.
    now with crawford going down, we’ll see how they handle it. somehow the rays have been able to cheat the injury bug all year (percival being the only exception).

    sf rod August 6, 2008, 4:58 pm
  • As for the Yankees…It’s time to give Melky a break. He’s an automatic out right now and I don’t really care how “great” his defense is with the lack of pitching this team now has, offense is at a premium. Play Abreu, Nady and Damon everyday in the OF until Melky gets himself right.
    As for the hopes for this season, it is what it is. The Yankees have had to endure way too many injuries, more than any team could be expected to endure and still be in contention. As much as it would disappoint me if they didn’t make the playoffs in the final season at the stadium, you have to appreciate the strides they have made. Girardi has shown he can build and manage a bullpen. The core youth is still there, it wasn’t traded away. Girardi is not showing bias or favoritism towards any players, like our former leader. This team has a bright future, whatever happens now is simply just a bonus. BUT it still will be a tough pill to swallow when there is no baseball to watch in October for the first time in a very long time…

    John - YF August 6, 2008, 5:00 pm
  • “I still refuse to believe in them. Now it’s just more my stubbornness than anything else, but the Rays are NOT this good, darn it!”
    Paul I hope your logical side is telling you that they are actually a really good team. If not you are gonna be in for a pretty solid let down come the end of the season. This team is for real and they gelled quicker than anyone expected. They have a great blend of defense, pitching, and offense provided by young energetic players. They have thus far proven they can bounce back from the inevitable rough patches in the season and can beat any team on any night. If this was how I was describing the yankees, id be very excited right now.

    Sam-YF August 6, 2008, 5:15 pm
  • not trying to hijack but there’s a perfect game going on in Arizona

    rootbeerfloat August 6, 2008, 5:22 pm
  • The Yankees have had to endure way too many injuries, more than any team could be expected to endure and still be in contention.
    Hey, not original! You stole our “excuse” from 2006! No fair!!!!!

    SF August 6, 2008, 5:23 pm
  • but there’s a perfect game going on in Arizona
    What, supermodels are running around the BOB naked? Or do you mean a pitcher hasn’t given up a baserunner?
    I am confused.

    SF August 6, 2008, 5:24 pm
  • “not trying to hijack but there’s a perfect game going on in Arizona”
    and its jeff karstens of all people throwing it!

    Sam-YF August 6, 2008, 5:25 pm
  • karstens……pulling an anibal sanchez.

    sf rod August 6, 2008, 5:35 pm
  • well, he gave up a hit but no one scored

    rootbeerfloat August 6, 2008, 5:38 pm
  • of course, as soon as the sports world tunes in he gives up a hit.

    sf rod August 6, 2008, 5:38 pm
  • Re: the Yankees, everything John-YF just said. Except I’d throw Justin Christian out there from time to time and DH Damon since he for some reason has “weak legs” every year. And also because Damon’s arm in the outfield has now gone from “absurd” to “just-kick-it-to-the-cutoff-man”.

    IronHorse (yf) August 6, 2008, 5:40 pm
  • Re: Melky
    PeteAbe just pointed out that he has 1 RBI since July 8th!
    Thats worse than bad.

    Sam-YF August 6, 2008, 5:41 pm
  • Fncking Cleveland.

    I'm Bill McNeal August 6, 2008, 5:41 pm
  • “Thats worse than bad.”
    That’s even worse than Varitek.

    I'm Bill McNeal August 6, 2008, 5:41 pm
  • Maybe we should make Melky our captain.
    Sorry.

    IronHorse (yf) August 6, 2008, 5:51 pm
  • tonites lineup via pete abe…
    YANKEES (61-52)
    Damon CF
    Jeter GIDP
    Abreu RF
    A. Rodriguez DH
    Giambi 1B
    Nady LF
    Cano 2B
    I. Rodriguez C
    Betemit 3B
    Ponson RHP
    Sidney Ponson (6-2, 4.23)
    alex dh-ing and jeets taking heat.

    sf rod August 6, 2008, 6:01 pm
  • Good one sf-rod. Actually, after A-Rod one-upped him last night, I think Jeter asked to play HBP.
    Is “C” playing SO again tonight for Boston?

    IronHorse (yf) August 6, 2008, 6:06 pm
  • that was all pete.
    the sad thing is, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities for the sox to boast a lineup that features “SO” DH-ing with cash catching. uhg.

    sf rod August 6, 2008, 8:01 pm

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