No, you didn’t travel back in time, that was Andy Pettite handing the ball to Mariano Rivera. Andy Pettite showed signs of his former self and pitched a phenomenal game against the rival Boston Red Sox. Pettite pitched 8 solid innings in just 94 pitches, earning the Yankees their first win of the season. He gave up just one run, and then handed the ball to Big Mo, who earned his first save of the season. This was Mariano Rivera’s first appearance in almost a year, and while he did give up a run, he still got the job done. I guess all you “experts” can stop hitting the panic button after TWO GAMES!! This is baseball. Baseball is a marathon and a half. If you are someone who thinks the first month of the baseball season means anything, you are sadly mistaken. Yes, the Yankees obviously have some major injuries that aren’t going to go away over night, but they still have a solid team. People also need to remember that Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson will be returning in the near future. Are the Yankees going to hit a million home runs like they’ve grown accustom to over the past couple of years? Nope, but that doesn’t mean they can’t win baseball games. This will depend on the biggest wild card of the season that no one is talking about, and that is the manager. Everyone wants to focus on the injuries and the lack of power in the line-up, but who is it that needs to overcome those issues? That’s right, it’s the manager, Joe Girardi. I think we are all going to learn a lot about Joe Girardi this season. Personally, I have always thought Girardi was a sub par manager, and I believe his ineptitude as a big league manager will be on display this year. It is difficult to deal with major injuries from your star players, but in baseball every team deals with significant injuries all the time. It is the job of the manager to adapt to the situation and get the most out the players he does have. I just don’t see Girardi utilize the combination of his farm system and his veteran players properly. I also think Girardi’s in game situational moves are usually questionable, especially his pitching changes. You would think as a former catcher, he would understand pitchers a little bit better (silly me). Anyway, it was nice to see Andy Pettite pitch as well as he did, and that is something the Yankees will need consistently if they want to play baseball in October.
As I’ve been saying since before spring training got under way, the Yankees will survive this season. They will fight through all the injuries and adversity and they will find new ways to win. I believe that the Yankees will finish third in the division and will be fighting for the final American League playoff spot all year. If their pitching rotation holds up they will make the playoffs, however, if Andy Pettite and Hiroki Kuroda pitch like old men then they’re going to be watching the playoffs from the couch like the rest of us. They also have to deal with the giant question marks that are Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, and David Phelps. Phelps has been solid, Nova has tremendous upside (but we better see it this season), and Hughes, well who the hell knows what he’s going to be. All in all this season is no slam dunk, but everyone needs to hop off the panic button. Let’s take a step back from reacting to everything in 3.5 seconds and see where they are when their roster is healthy. If the Yankees get Jeter and Granderson back (and everyone else stays healthy), and they are 10 games out of a playoff spot, then I give everyone permission to Panic with a capital P. Until that day comes, let’s just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
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