Yankees: Pendulum Swing Of The Season Possible, But Not To Worry

Derek Jeter Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Derek Jeter Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees of 2017 were never as good as their recent stretch winning fourteen of seventeen games, nor were they as bad as their 1-4 start to the season. The trick, though, is which team is a more accurate portrayal of this team. Because as they say, it doesn’t matter where your start, it’s where you finish that counts.

Critics of the Yankees are no doubt feasting at the alter in lieu of the team’s two consecutive losses to the Orioles and Blue Jays, at home no less. And they point to the non-impressive starts made by the rookie, Jordan Montgomery, and Luis Severino, who managed to throw only 59 of his 105 pitches for strikes last night.

And they’ll look at Chase Headley, who was noticeably given the night off by Joe Girardi and point to his deescalating batting average that has shrunk to .301. And they laugh with glee because Greg Bird is hitting .100 with one home run and a paltry three runs batted in. This, following a Spring Training that paralleled what Aaron Judge is doing now.

Then, they’ll get around to the old man on the pitching staff asking if anyone believed that CC Sabathia could consistently get hitters in this league out with an 88 mph fastball. And so on.

Believe Your Lying Eyes

The trouble with these people, though, is that they have not watched the 2017 Yankees. I mean really watched.

Because if they had watched, they would recognize that this team is built to last. The depth within the organization stretches all the way through the rosters of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Double-Trenton, with players, and especially pitchers, who have a legitimate claim to have earned their right to start in the major leagues.

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They would also have seen the resiliency of a team that went through almost the entire first month of the season without two lineup mainstays in Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez, and they’re still six games over .500.

The 2017 Yankees have upside, and at this point in a season, that’s all that matters. They’re not the Mets who keep shooting themselves in the foot, and they’re not the Red Sox either, who can’t seem to man up by replacing the “two Lost David’s” (Price and Ortiz).

Yankees, Sorry Folks, There Is No Downside

What they are, though, are the Cleveland Indians of last season, and perhaps even this season, given the Indians (14-11) mediocre record. Because like the Indians, the Yankees have a clubhouse that is together. They like each other, and they root for each other.

And no matter how “high school” it sounds, it counts! And this team has it.

Two losses in a row, okay, it’s time to stop it, and Masahiro Tanaka is just the guy to do it. But at the same time, four losses or six losses in a row is not going to kill this team.

Chase Headley is not a .360 major league hitter. Good thing he was for a while though, but he’s only settling into all the Yankees need from him this season. Ditto Jacoby Ellsbury, who only needs to be not as bad as he has been since he arrived here.

I read somewhere that Aaron Judge is on pace to smash the single-season home run record set by Barry Bonds. Really? Just stop with that stuff. What the Yankees need from him is a line of, .280, 40 HR, and 100 RBI. Anything else is gravy.

Repeating, because it matters so much as the Yankees take on the law of averages and come back to earth, this team has upside only. There is no downside.

So, as Mark Twain once said about his “demise”, reports that you’ll see about the death of the Yankees are greatly exaggerated.