Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Bomber Bites With Jumping Joe Vitulli

Mandatory Credit: Chad R. MacDonald.

Mandatory Credit: Chad R. MacDonald.

Yankees Depth Will Be Tested as They Enter Crucial Stretch of the Season

When the Yankees had a terrific competition for the fifth starter job in spring training, there were rumblings within the organization and outside it that the Yankees should trade some of what was believed at the time to be excess starting pitching for an extra infielder. Now by simply not doing anything, GM Brian Cashman looks like a genius.  One month into the season and his starting rotation has been decimated by injuries, suspension and ineffectiveness and the scrap heap infielder he decided to break camp with, Yangervis Solarte is hitting over .300 while leading the team in runs batted in and doubles (tied with Carlos Beltran both categories) in addition to on-base percentage.

The Yankees are standing in front of a crucial juncture of their season. They have lost Ivan Nova for the season and Michael Pineda for the next month.  CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda have looked old and inconsistent at times this season. However, Masahiro Tanaka has been lights out and the front end of the bullpen led by David Robertson, Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren and Dellin Betances has been solid. The Yankees’ depth will be tested on a daily basis throughout the month of May. Ideally, the next few weeks before Memorial Day would be the perfect time to hit the ground running and expand their lead in the AL East in advance of the summer. However, with the rotation in shambles the next month turns into something else entirely.

After this weekend’s series against the Rays, the Yankees will not face an AL East opponent again until June 17.   Between now and and Memorial Day lie four games against the Mets, two games against the Cubs, three games against the Angels, and  four games against the White Sox. These are series the Yankees will absolutely need to win.  The other games on the schedule include three games against the rampaging Brewers, three games against the Pirates, and three games against the Cardinals.  The Yankees need to beat the teams that they are better than and then hang around .500 against the better clubs in the league. That is the way they have made the playoffs so often over the years. Last season, the Yankees remained competitive until September. But while their “tragic number” hung around until the last few weeks of the season, their outcome was determined in the first week of August when they went 1-5 against the last place Padres and White Sox to drop them only a game over .500. They never truly recovered in the standings from that point on. The old adage that you cannot win a division in April or May rings as true as ever, but the converse is also valid. You can certainly lose a division in April or May. Ladies and gentlemen, those are your Bomber Bites for the final day of April, 2014!

Tags: New York Yankees

comments powered by Disqus