The Yankees have endured a more than bumpy ride with all-important No. 2 starter A.J. Burnett. Outside of ace CC Sabathia, in fact, no one in the starting rotation scares anyone.
The Bombers offense while outstanding has endured the absence of oft-injured Alex Rodriguez and the declining stats of legendary shortstop Derek Jeter. Outside of the team’s amazing bullpen, the Yankees have no reason to be pulling away in the AL East over the favored Red Sox.
Perhaps a lion’s share of the credit belongs to the steady hand of manager Joe Girardi. The uninspired (to some) and expected choice at the time to replace the legendary Joe Torre may be on the verge of leading the Yanks to a second World Series title since he took the post in 2008.
That is no mean feat considering the team’s aforementioned shortcomings and the hurdles Girardi has to overcome, including relentless reporters in a media market that thrives on controversy.
Girardi hasn’t given much meat to the pack of scribes that follow the team day-in and day-out. He also quelled a possible controversy when catcher Jorge Posada reportedly begged out of the lineup when the slumping DH was dropped to seventh in the lineup earlier in the season.
Girardi could have taken it as an affront to his position and he could have damaged his already shaky relationship with Posada. Instead he handled the matter with dignity and class, handled the matter in-house and allowed Posada to maintain his pride but humbly back down at the same time.
Girardi deftly handled that matter and has earned his managing pinstripes this season more than any other. He also has earned AL Manager of the Year honors in my book.