The Yankees lost their last three games prior to the All-Star break and dropped three games behind the Al East leading Red Sox. Those games seem like a season ago. Since then Prince Fielder won the Home Run Derby, Walter Cronkite became the 37th celebrity to pass away this month, and the Yankees completed two impressive three-game sweeps of the Tigers and Orioles.
They’ve done it with starting and relief pitching, which gives me a warm and gooey feeling on the inside. We all know this offense is going to hit, but I’m never quite sure what to expect from the Yankee arms. Lately, Yankee pitching has been gravy.
They won three games in a row by the score of 2-1. In April that seemed about as likely as Indiana Jones and his crystal skull surviving three consecutive waterfalls in a 1950s Russian jeep (I hate you George Lucas…thanks for ruining my two favorite childhood franchises). In fact, the Yankees have NEVER won three games in a row 2-1. I don’t know what’s more remarkable, the fact that the storied Yanks never accomplished this before, the fact that they managed only six runs in three games, or that they held the Tigers and Orioles, two good offensive clubs, to only three combined runs. I guess it doesn’t matter; what matters is that the pitchers are dealin’ and the Bombers are winnin’.
AJ Burnett has been filthy over his past six starts. Six pack of stats: 4-1, 1.82 ERA, 36 Ks in 39.2 innings. Nice! Even Joba looked good in his last outing. Could the Yankees staff (at least 1-4) be finally gelling? Hopefully. Both CC and AJ are traditionally strong second half performers. Pettitte, if nothing else, is consistently…what’s the word…consistent. We’ll see about Joba, but I’m optimistic.
We might be witnessing just another hot streak. They happen periodically during the course of a baseball season, like asinine congressional infighting and awful action sequels. Or, it could be the genesis of a renewed culture of winning within the Yankee organization. At this point last year the Yankees expected to lose. Now, finally, they expect to win. Joe Girardi had this to say after today’s 6-4 victory over Baltimore: “It has been very professional the way these guys have gone about their business. Every day you come in and expect to win.”
Exactly! You have to believe you can win before you can win.
I’ll leave you with one more excellent Yankee quote from today. In the top of the second, Nick Swisher dropped a routine fly ball that got Burnett into some trouble, but he made up for it by making a fantastic running catch for the third out. As Swisher jogged off the field, Burnett waited for his teammate and dropped this pearl of eternal wisdom on Swish: “Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…and totally redeem yourself!”
I’m making a new poster: Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Dumb and Dumber.