The Race Is On

We never gave up the faith. When times looked bleak, we still had hope. We are the Yankees, dammit! Whenever the going gets rough, we always find writers telling us that in order to do X, the team will have to play at .700 or .750. Those projections always seem pointless, however true they may be in the abstract. That said, I don’t know that anyone imagined we’d be at this point so quickly. Credit goes to the stabilization of the rotation, quality play from the pen, and of course fantastic hitting throughout the lineup. Abreu, Melky, Matsui, and the now unstoppable Robinson Cano have all come on in the 2nd half. That makes the skipper’s job look almost easy. Also, it’s worth noting that the Yanks have transformed what was an apocalyptically bad bench—Nieves, Cairo, Basak, Thompson–Yikes!) into a spectacular one (Molina, Betemit, Giambi, Damon, Philips). There’s still a great deal of baseball left to play. Hopefully the team is not set back by injury down the stretch, and the team is energized and not exhausted by their run. Anyway, we’ll be watching.

30 comments… add one
  • Anyone with half a brain knew this was coming, maybe not this soon, but we all knew the Yankees couldn’t suck that bad all year.
    So, just like every year, it’s on.

    LocklandSF August 13, 2007, 10:30 am
  • Well, the Yankees really have needed to play some .700 or better ball to catch up…and much to my dismay, they have. They’ve been 22-8 since the all-star break – a torrid .733. If they were playing at .600, which is still respectable, the Sox would be 8 games ahead, and there wouldn’t be as much of an uneasy feeling (although would RSN really be comfortable at that stage, too?).
    Watch your tails, squadron. We’ve got a dogfight on our hands.

    Scott SF August 13, 2007, 11:01 am
  • As a Sox fan in NYC, I can say that a lot of YF’s gave up and wrote off the Yanks a long time ago.
    It’s sickening to see how much of a fair-weather base the Yankees have.

    Chris SF August 13, 2007, 11:10 am
  • Sox fans and their moralizing! Enough with the fair-weather fanbase charge. The Yanks were playing bad ugly baseball early in the season. If the Sox had been 14.5 games back, I’m pretty sure there’d be anger in RSN.

    Nick -YF August 13, 2007, 11:14 am
  • Writing off the Yankees and being fair weathered are two different things. 2 or 3 months back I wrote off the Yankees, but I have missed maybe 3 games over that span. Just because I wrote them off doesn’t mean I stopped being a fan. There were too many things wrong with this team to honestly believe that the ship would find it’s way back on course. Since then they have improved almost every area that was a weakness, except adding power at 1B. If the regulars remember all I asked for back then was for Torre to put a product on the field that was enjoyable to watch, that’s all any fan can ask for.
    We need to stop judging one another. It’s really dumb and pointless. I’m a true fan, no I’m a true fan…childish.

    John - YF (Trisk) August 13, 2007, 11:17 am
  • Amen Nick. I know sox fans who wrote of this current team bc of their last 2 losses and they’re still in first!
    I for one may not have been surprised if the yanks hadnt pulled their season together but I kept watching the games.

    Sam-YF August 13, 2007, 11:18 am
  • those writers were right. the yanks have played well over .700 and for the first time the sox are under .600 for the season. and they’re still in first place.

    ugh August 13, 2007, 11:18 am
  • nick are you kidding me, yankee universe became Yankee neighborhood back in may and june when they bombers were sucking, the fair weather fanbase of the yankees started to notice things changing and grabbed thier hats and shirts out of the closets to make sure they could wear them in time for the big push.
    I hadn’t seen alot of yankee fans most of the summer until they decided they liked arod again, and the Yankees were less tan 8 games back. so many Yankee fans had given up on their team, and now they are scrambling to get their gear back on, telling people they never wrote them off, just just believed they had no chance. yeah, that is a whole lot different…

    TheTree1918 August 13, 2007, 11:24 am
  • chris st – how many times has sf written off the sox THIS YEAR?
    the globe has written about the depression of the Nation a few times this year. the times has not said similar things about yankee fans because the relationship is different. the sox hold a place in the new england psyche the yanks do not hold in ny.

    ugh August 13, 2007, 11:26 am
  • Ah, yes, Chris the YFs bailed. Meanwhile, two of your fearless leaders on this site can’t stand being in first place by four games and with the best record in baseball – so they’re taking week long vacations.
    By the way – Yanks are 29-10 in their last 39 games.
    Meanwhile, no one saw me around here cause when one team is ten games back, there isn’t much of a rivalry thus little need for a rivalry site. SFs know that well from last fall.
    And Trisk – as YF points out in the thread – the problem wasn’t Torre, it was more the players for underperforming (Abreu, Cano, Melky, Matsui) and Cashman for doing nothing to help the bench. Once those things changed, it was only a matter of time. Question was: How long?
    Me, I’m really glad it was sooner or later. Hopefully they’re playing with 1st place at stake next week.

    Woosta YF August 13, 2007, 11:27 am
  • Alright, Tree, you’re right. Sox fans are just better fans than Yanks fans. You win the argument.
    It’s funny that I’ve met a lot more Sox fans this year on this site than I met last fall.
    Meanwhile, we have a division race to follow.

    Nick -YF August 13, 2007, 11:28 am
  • Last I checked the Yanks have already drawn three million this year. Fair-weather that…

    Woosta YF August 13, 2007, 11:29 am
  • geez – i just read paul sf’s white towel post. and yankee fans are quitters?

    ugh August 13, 2007, 11:30 am
  • The problem wasn’t Torre? LOL ok. Apparently the know it all brigade is in town this week. I am not going to rehash all the mistakes Torre made, but he is an awful game manager, awful. His strong point is managing the players and in this instance, as was the case during the historical run between ’96 and ’01 his demeanor has helped this team long term. That still doesn’t erase from my memory the mistakes he made in game situations, lineups and over usage of the bullpen.
    Tree, I will not get into it with you. We have been down this road a million times. Red Sox nation is Red Sox nation and Yankee universe is Yankee universe, stop with the generalizations and blanket statements. If there were Yankee fans that jumped ship, who cares then they weren’t real fans anyway, why is that a concern of yours???

    John - YF (Trisk) August 13, 2007, 11:36 am
  • I’m almost always here still! =) I was hopeful (maybe optimistic), but I kept on saying the season is still early.
    Though ya. Actually I’m usually busy during the weekends, and I usually catch the game at a bar (when I’m not at work), so I don’t comment too much. Let’s go Yanks!

    Lar August 13, 2007, 11:37 am
  • NoMaas – the biggest Torre basher for the longest amount of time has him for 6 losses this year (and none since the end of June). That’s typical for him.
    No I’d say the first-second half splits of Matsui, Cano, Melky, and Abreu have meant much more. That and not giving 300 at-bats to Miguel Nieves Mancaveitch.
    The players and Cashman started doing their jobs. Torre is the same as he ever was – bullpen most especially included.

    Woosta YF August 13, 2007, 11:42 am
  • Woosta this is what I said yesterday…
    Posted by: John – YF (Trisk) | Sunday, August 12, 2007 at 09:22 PM
    “You are 100% correct SF, I did say the Yankees were dead. That’s why I still think Yankee fans should show some caution. Also I still think Torre has been an awful game manager, this win streak has not changed that. Joe Torre is what he is, a manager of players, not a game manager. During this winning streak “Sleepy” hasn’t had to manage, when your offense is blowing teams out of the building there isn’t a whole lot of strategy involved. I still think at year’s end the Joe Torre era is over. Thanks for everything Joe, you have done a great job, but it’s time to move on. That’s my opinion SF, win, lose or tie.
    As far as the team goes, this team has changed. We added a good backup catcher, we added a right handed power bat, we added a utility man with pop, the Josh Phelps experiment is over, Melky is playing CF everyday, Proctor and Myers are gone and the back of the rotation has solidified somewhat with Hughes and Clemens. In addition Cano, Matsui, Abreu heated up and started to play more to their career numbers. They have made some drastic, but subtle changes and so far they have worked.
    But there is still a TON of baseball to be played.”
    So I don’t see where we are not in agreement? Other then you thinking Torre is accountable for little blame for the 1st half debacle.

    John - YF (Trisk) August 13, 2007, 11:50 am
  • Right – it’s that attributing the first half to Torre. I’m not his fan, and this should be his last year, but he’s still the same as he ever was. He’s a constant.
    That means he did in the first half (and now) what he’s always done.
    So IMHO the differences between the first half and second half are not Torre. It’s that the players who weren’t hitting are now hitting. And Cashman upgraded the bench – something he should have done in December.

    Woosta YF August 13, 2007, 11:58 am
  • “Last I checked the Yanks have already drawn three million this year. Fair-weather that…”
    …and, from what I’ve heard, are on pace to break last year’s home attendance record…

    Andrews August 13, 2007, 12:11 pm
  • The extra couple of million that Cashman gave Boras to complete the Gagne trade to the Sox has turned out to be money well spent.
    JK. If Texas had asked for less than Melky or Ian Kennedy (say, Alan Horne and Brian Bruney, maybe a low-A prospect), I would have made the trade. Gagne’s implosion was not foreseeable, and he will turn it around (if Tito gives him the ball again before mid-September).
    The race is back on, but it’s also not over. The Yankees are still four games back, and PECOTA gives them less than a 13% chance of winning the division. PECOTA doesn’t look at “momentum” (I don’t think, although those BP guys are pretty smart), but regardless, winning the division is still going to take the Yankees a lot of work.

    yankees76 August 13, 2007, 12:15 pm
  • The “we’re better fans than you!” charge is getting really, really, really old.
    Guess what- The Sox are sucking. The Yankees are kicking ass. That means Sox fans are seriously bummed, and Yanks fans are pumped up.
    When the Sox are kicking ass and the Yanks are sucking, it’s the opposite. Sox fans get pumped, Yanks fans hang their head.
    Calling each other “fair weather fans” is bullshit. Sure, each side is amused by the respective bridge-jumping, but we all do it.
    Quit flaming. Enjoy the games, smirk when the other side starts looking for the nearest cliff, and root for your team. Just stop being such assholes.

    KurticusMaximus- YF August 13, 2007, 12:27 pm
  • I tentatively wrote off the Yankees’ playoff hopes before the season began, all because of pitching. I had every confidence that Pavano and Igawa were going to suck and suck badly respectively, if they played at all. Those two along with the revolving door rotation of Jeff Karstens (starting Tuesday..groan), Chase Wright, Tyler Clippard, Matt DeSalvo, and Darrell Rasner, I no longer needed epicac to help with my dieting. Now the rotation has settled somewhat and Wang, Pettitte, Clemens, Mussina, and Hughes give a bit of confidence, but not slam-dunk assuredness.
    After the first two months, I didn’t expect the Dominican Inquisition. Nobody expects the Dominican Inquisition.
    I certainly did not expect Torre to settle on Melky Cabrera as the starting Center Fielder and stick with him. That happened June 1st in Boston; his batting line since that game? .344/.385/.528. That’s not a blip; that’s over 250 at bats and 66 games.
    I didn’t expect Robi Cano to turn into a summertime monster. He went 0-5 on July first, a game I remember well since I had juice riding on it with a friend of mine who is an Athletic supporter. snick. I lost money that day, but from July 1st to now? Cano is hitting .405/.461/.709 in 167 PAs/148 ABs. 14 walks! He had 14 walks in the season prior to that point over 317 PAs.
    I thought Abreu was toast. Since July 1st, he’s hitting .355/.401/.596
    And then there’s Hideki….
    Other splits since July 1
    Jeter .321/.382/.426
    Damon .271/.385/.361
    Posada .352/.470/.593
    ARod .239/.375/.530
    Matsui .340/.395/.673 << Phillips over Mink/Phelps and Molina over Nieves are pretty important upgrades as well. So yeah, I wrote them off in March, and had it notarized in May. And laughed it off. Go read the May archives for a good chuckle if you want to see Yankee fans suffering and how they vocalized it; there's some great, funny, painful stuff in there. But it's not like it's fair weather. There have been many suffering gladly (well, maybe not gladly) all along.

    attackgerbil August 13, 2007, 12:38 pm
  • I don’t know where all the SFs went but this one doesn’t have any loved ones he’s neglecting, so I guess I’ll chime in.
    I second the motion to end the “we’re the biggest fans” debate. Not that that will ever really go away but it doesn’t hurt to hope. There is such a thing as fair-weather fandom of course, but something about taking the time to post on a rivalry website seems to preclude one of the basic necessities for fair-weatherness: Not caring that much.
    As to the race that has already been declared to be “on”, count this SF as still being happy to have a lead and/or be in a race in August. I remember last August, and this is far better. Do I wish we still had that 10+ game lead? Hells yes. But I did pick the Yankees to win it all this year in my non-partisan preseason picks, and it wasn’t because I’m a closet Yankee fan. It’s because they have a good team.
    Yes, this weekend really blew, but to confuse it for a harbinger of “inevitability” doesn’t ring true to me. I’ve seen both teams do well, so I expect the outcome could go either way from here on out.
    However, if I too wanted to read this week instead of following the Sox, I suppose I could finally get to the end of “100 Years of Solitude” which, surprisingly enough, is NOT a history of the Chicago Cubs.

    Anonymous August 13, 2007, 1:21 pm
  • Sorry, still getting used to this: that was me above.

    FenSheaParkway August 13, 2007, 1:22 pm
  • “There is such a thing as fair-weather fandom of course, but something about taking the time to post on a rivalry website seems to preclude one of the basic necessities for fair-weatherness: Not caring that much.”
    Well said, FSP. I couldn’t agree more.

    Anonymous August 13, 2007, 1:36 pm
  • …and I’m still screwing up typekey a year plus later… sorry

    Andrews August 13, 2007, 1:37 pm
  • Question to fellow YFs: Do you think Betemit was really an upgrade over Cairo? His power numbers are admittedly better, but Cairo is a better utility fielder, has better speed on the bases, and is at least as good of a situational hitter.
    I’ve been happy with pretty much every single roster-move the Yankees have made since mid-season and I did not cry when Proctor left (though he was not the one I was dying to show the door – that prize goes to Fartsworth), but other than being 5 years younger, I did not see this particular move as an upgrade and I liked what Cairo brought the team off the bench.

    IronHorse-YF August 13, 2007, 2:35 pm
  • In my view, there is no contest between Betemit and Cairo. Betemit is just a much better offensive player given his power and on-base skills. Plus, he’s young and has upside (he was once a big prospect in the Braves system). For all the talk of Cairo being a versatile defensive player, he lacked the arm for third where I though he was truly atrocious. He was goodt at second, decent at short, and had no business playing first given his hitting.

    Nick-YF August 13, 2007, 3:10 pm
  • As you pointed out, Betemit is a significant power upgrade over Cairo at the plate, but “upgrade” is a relative term since Betemit is the very definition of average with an adjusted OPS of 100, and between Phillips/Cairo, Betemit is a far superior hot corner player. Still, I liked Miggy.

    attackgerbil August 13, 2007, 3:11 pm
  • I like Miggy too, he was the definition of a pinch runner. But, for the stretch, the Yankees have no room for one-dimensional players anymore. Betemit is 100% an upgrade over Cairo simply because he is so projectible. I don’t think you’ll hear pining for Cairo if Betemit becomes an above-average hitter who plays a decent first base. Young, projectible position players were what the Yankees were missing from their bench. Now that you can play Betemit without suffering a complete black hole in the lineup, you can rest Jeter and A-Rod and Cano, and play matchups with first base.
    It was a great small trade, and one that could pay huge dividends down the road. Scott Proctor had no more upside to him – he is what he is. Betemit can be so much more.

    AndrewYF August 13, 2007, 3:41 pm

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