Quite Frankly: Yanks Need More Than Luck to Reach October

With the 2008 All-Star game behind us, the second half of the season is upon us. This is where the contenders show their worth and the pretenders fade away. The Yankees have been known as a good second half team over the past few seasons but this might very well be the toughest second half of recent memory.

The Yankees are 51-45 and 5.5 games out of first place. 66 games to go. Now granted this is no reason to be alarmed, BUT do you really think Sidney Ponson is going to continue to pitch effectively throughout the second half? Do you think Richie Sexson will be that much of a help in the lineup? Those two are replacing ace Chien-Ming Wang and slugger Hideki Matsui. Mighty big shoes to fill. How much longer is Mike Mussina going to pitch like its 1999? All of these are BIG questions going into the second half. How about Melky Cabrera in CF? When the heck is he going to hit? Robinson Cano, when does he show us that talent that makes him so untouchable? My friends, I think these Yanks are in serious trouble.

The Yankees were 49-46 after 95 games last season. They ended up winning 94 games. I am a fan and sometimes that alters my thinking of the team and what's realistic but this time, this year I don't see the fight in this team. I don't sense it. I want to believe the Yankees will be playing October baseball but I just don't believe they have it in them. I will admit despite all the injuries (Wang-September, Matsui-Out for the year?, Phil Hughes- September?,Ian Kennedy- ?, A-Rod- 3 weeks, Jorge Posada- 6 weeks, Johnny Damon- a few weeks) the Yanks have done a good job in staying in the race. The Tampa Bay Rays will give the Yanks and Red Sox a run for their money this summer but will eventually fade out. It's the Yanks job to gain ground as the end of the season approaches.

The reason for concern is the .254 hitting with runners in scoring position (heading into last night's game). They hit .293 in similar situations last season.
"It's something that's hard to make sense of," general manager Brian Cashman said. "I have to have belief that these guys will hit because that is what they have done in the past. I have to go on what their track records have been."

But again, this is not Joe Torre's Yankees, it's Joe Girardi's team now. We will now see how much of the last few season was Torre's doing or was it the players? The Bombers have 35 games left on the road, 43 games against teams with a record over .500. Things have to get going now. I've said it all season that I will wait until at least the All-Star break to look at where the Yanks are and what their situation is and what lies ahead of them. Well, at this time, things don't look good in the Bronx. I don't want to count them out just yet, but they're not showing me anything worth believing October baseball is in the future.

In order to reach 94 wins the Yankees will have to go 44-23. It's possible and I hope they do make it. But I predict a 39-27 second half. The result of injuries, inconsistent play and lack of clutch hitting. This will leave them with a 90-72 record. I honestly think even that is a stretch for this team but I'm trying to be as realistic as possibe. The Yanks don't take the divison, the wild card is certainly a possiblity because how many AL teams are going to finish with 90 wins?
"I think we can get it done with the players we have," Derek Jeter said. "There's enough talent on this team to get it done."

Is the captain speaking out of confidence or is he speaking like someone who just happens to always say the right thing?
"It's time for us to get going" Girardi said.

I couldn't agree more. I hope the Yanks prove me wrong.
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