Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Yankees At The Half

'06 is looking like a great year thus far, especially with the Yanks primed to miss the playoffs if the season ended tomorrow. But of course, we've gotta play all 162.

The hatred and enmity against the Yankees seems to be missing some bite this year. Maybe it's the fact that Shemp and Sheff are on the DL. Or Small and Chacon reverting to their old ways. Plus, the Yanks have very little personality to begin with, but this year they seem extra dull. The Boss and Snorre have been much, much quieter than usual. At least last year the Boss got mad every week, and found every opportunity to tweak Ca$hman. And the emergence of the exciting Mets? Also a huge factor.

Now, what should we expect from the Yanks in the second half?

I think one big x-factor will be if and when George steps in. Clearly, Ca$hman has been running things for now. Otherwise, I'm sure we'd long since have seen Reggie Sanders in pinstripes, and probably Bobby Abreu, too.

Seems to me like Cashman has two ways of dealing with issues like injuries: a) the farm system - bring up the Kevin Thompson and TJ Beam types, and hope for the best, or b) rely on your local ex-Royal. Heck, Cashman likes ex-Royals more than Steinbrenner likes ex-Mets! First Terrence Long, then Guiel and Kris Wilson - what's next, Frank White as the new first-base coach?

So I'd be surprised if Cashman makes a big splash before the deadline, unless he gets an offer he can't refuse, like with Mondesi in '02 (but that, of course, turned out to be a disaster and was almost definitely a George move, coming after Enrique Wilson's infamous error against the Mets). I think Cashman will try to push his luck again and look for the 2006 version of Small and Chacon. Chances are he'll end up with something more like Redding and Darrell May.

Yanks have a tough schedule coming up. They play the White Sox, the resurgent Mariners, and later on, Texas and then Detroit. Boston will give them a hard time, too. Unfortunately, thanks to the chemically imbalanced schedule, the Yanks play Baltimore and Tampa Bay about 100 times the rest of the way. Hopefully they'll be seeing a lot of Kazmir and Bedard.

Boston needs a big second half from Beckett. He was inconsistent for much of the first half, but before getting lit up by the White Sox, had pitched 5 quality starts in a row. Is he finally figuring out the AL? If he, Schilling, and Lester can keep things up, and Mirabelli can work some magic with Wakefield, the Sox will be in great shape.

And I would also like the Twins to get hot, just in case Detroit starts stinking it up. But if Santana has another huge second half and Liriano stays red-hot, Minnesota will have an excellent chance at the wild card.

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