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.