Stuff to think about
By Jon Lane
There’s nothing anyone could have done about Tuesday’s loss in Toronto. Roy Halladay is one of the top five pitchers in the game and was so dominant neither the 1927 nor the 1961 Yankees were hitting him. Doc also continued his ownership of the Yankees. He’s 13-2 over his last 19 starts and 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA lifetime.
Meanwhile, A.J. Burnett is 0-1, 6.47 and has allowed five home runs in his last five starts. It’s May 13 and already it’s desperate times for the Yankees. Almost half the team is on the shelf or flirting with the disabled list, CC Sabathia is hoping to finally gain traction off Friday’s nine-inning whitewash of the Orioles and Chien-Ming Wang will need one more Minor League start before he returns. Burnett has had his chances to show he can carry a team in need and hasn’t done it.
Wang, meanwhile, threw six shutout innings for Triple-A Scranton Tuesday night, giving up three hits walking three and striking out six. It’s still impossible to believe a two-time 19-game winner is 0-3 with a 34.50 ERA. The Yankees are praying that was due to the weakness in his hip abductor muscle and not anything mechanically or emotionally.
It’s gotten ridiculous with these injuries. Derek Jeter sat out Tuesday with a strained rib-cage muscle and hopes to play tonight. Hideki Matsui, already playing on creaky knees, now has a tight right hamstring. Matsui says it’s only a cramp, but I’d be surprised to see Matsui for the rest of this series given the Rogers Centre turf.
Normally, when in times of crisis, Andy Pettitte is the one you’d want on the mound. However, the veteran left-hander is 0-1 with a 6.62 ERA in his last three starts. This is a team that was pegged not only for greatness, but to do something special. Keep the faith that things can turn around quickly in this game, but at this rate the Yankees are looking like the 1992 Mets (minus the dysfunction). That team signed free agents Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray and Bret Saberhagen and had visions of a World Championship. They finished 72-90.
A bit over the top? Maybe so. But the Yankees Version 2009 are laden with big names who are also aging veterans. There’s no need to worry about Sabathia, but Burnett is not doing what he did last year and any defense of Mark Teixeira and his history of slow starts no longer carry merit. Teixeira went hitless in four at-bats on Tuesday and has been stuck below the Mendoza line the past week.
This team needs to get healthy and get it going – quickly. The days of the AL East being a two-team race are long over, which means the Yankees are vulnerable to getting buried sooner than you think.
4:57 p.m. Jeter and Matsui are both out of tonight’s lineup. Reports out of Toronto say the captain is hoping to return tomorrow.