Could Pitching Do The Yankees In?
It sure is hard making predictions in sports these days. Tiger Woods vs. the field is over in golf. Anyone can win on any given day. The NFL still reigns parity. College basketball has sent Butler, VCU and George Mason to the Final Four since 2006. Baseball has seen the Orioles, Athletics and Pirates stay around for the stretch run in 2012.
But this one you can mark down. The Yankees will not win the World Series this season. Oh and you can mark this one down too: they will not get out of the first round in the playoffs.
Why? Pitching, my friends. You need an ace. And you need a deep pitching staff to make a deep run in October. CC Sabathia, New York’s pitcher and glue guy, is out for another 15 days minimum with elbow inflammation. Sabathia recently told national media people that he can’t even raise his elbow up to his shoulder. Not good. Add to that Andy Pettitte’s questionable return in September, Phil Hughes’ erratic arm and Ivan Nova’s nonsense and the Yankees have problems. And Huroki Kuroda is their best guy. And David Phelps is spot starting by default. YIKES!
That is why you can put a fork in the Yankees. Ultimately, did the lineup cost the team in last year’s postseason? You can make the argument that the answer is yes. But all in all, the Yanks haven’t had the arms to measure up with the Texas, Detroit and whoever else trio in baseball the last few years. A-Rod was amazing during the 2009 World Series run and Phil Hughes was a great set-up guy and the lineup was clutch with Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon and that Derek Jeter fellow, but CC Sabathia was the ace and the big shutdown guy that season. The Yankees even received solid starts from A.J. Burnett (remember him?) in the playoffs that year and got four postseason wins from Andy Pettitte, two of which came in the World Series against Philadelphia (Games 3 and 6). This team in 2012 has NONE of that pitching and we are in August!
The Yankees will win the American League East. They will shower one another with champagne for making it through another grueling 162-game schedule because it is tough to do that, no matter what your payroll is. And the AL East championship flag will fly around for a few days while minor leaguers trot around the Bronx as the postseason looms.
But when the postseason arrives, forget about it. The Yankees are dead. The last flag that will fly will be an American League East banner, and 100% of the time that flag just isn’t good enough in the Bronx. But Yankee fans, management and everyone else will have to deal with it for one reason and one reason only.
There isn’t enough pitching to get that 41st American League pennant or 28th World Series ring in 2012.