We thought things weren't going good for the Yankees when Carl Pavano was the opening day starter; and, he pitched okay until the defense made three errors behind him and then he tired early. Given the fact that he hasn't pitched in a year and a half we can forgive him. His heart is in the right place and he's displayed the guts necessary to make a comeback. Fans and critics can't keep goading him for not wanting to play when he is in fact going to the mound and giving it his all. Pavano's start against the Twins on Monday justifies this line of thinking. He's a pitcher again, and he's earned the right to be judged on current performances and not by the injuries of the past year and a half.
A-Rod has gotten off to a terrific start this season. Apparently exercising his demons during spring training, Alex has accumulated six home runs and fifteen RBIs in seven games. In terms of production, this surpasses even A-Rod. As quoted in Newsday (Tuesday, April 10, 2007) "No Yankee had ever hit five home runs in the team's first six games, as Rodriguez has, according to the Elias Sports Bureau."
Someone I know who is a Yankee fan cynically sneered at A-Rod's early and impressive numbers by saying "He's just taking advantage of weak pitchers." If that's the case, what's Doug Mientkiewicz’ excuse? How about the very talented fan favorite Melky Cabrera? They've both started this season in hitting slumps. Are they facing stronger pitchers than Alex Rodriguez? Even when A-Rod does something right, he's still criticized. Yankee fans, listen and listen hard: It's time to give Alex Rodriguez a break. He's going to strike out, leave men on base, and hit into double plays. If you want to trade him, think again. Who are you going to get for him? Scott Brosius is retired and anyone else who fills in at third is going to be lacking the skills that A-Rod possesses. If you want to make an argument that he's been less than productive for the Yankees in the post season, my answer is simple. This is no longer 2006, and he's still a member of the Yankees. If he goes one for eleven n in October, then you can gripe all you want; unless, of course, the Yankees actually win the World Series.
Andy Pettitte was back to being the Andy of yesteryear last night at the Metrodome. We can erase his last start and look forward to him being a leader on this pitching staff, even helping Carl Pavano who is often seen talking with Andy as they are now locker-mates. If you're a Yankee fan, you like the fact that Pavano is looking to Andy Pettitte for guidance. That’s the mature, responsible and smart thing to do.
After going 2-5 in the first week of the season, every Yankee fan was ready to panic here in Panic-ville. With that said, reasonable baseball fans with a sense of history and how baseball seasons often play out realize that the actual time to sweat is somewhere around June if the Yankees aren't performing well. The games in April are mere baby steps. This team will right itself not only because the pitching staff has ability, but because they have to. Here's to Carl Pavano as he grabs the ball tonight and helps make this team competitive. Remember one other thing; Chin Ming Wang will be back soon. And, if that isn’t enough to make you sleep better at night, Roger Clemens is likely to charge back into the Bronx in his Hummer sometime in June.
April 9, 2007
Mr. Grudge is back from his short Easter vacation. So much has happened in the past week in baseball that it's tough to know where to begin. Following my instincts, I'll focus in the excruciating start the Yankees have had for the first week of this season. Ouch. Welcome back readers, and let this season prove to be the big one for the Yankees. As I said early over the winter, this is my new mantra for the Yankees: "Twenty seven in '07." Let's hope I'm right.