It certainly seems like Anahiem, Oakland and Boston never lose, but I'm with AT on this one. I think the Yankees will make the playoffs as the wildcard. I think this patchwork staff will pitch better than anyone ever expected or hoped (this statement depends in part on Wright's performance tonight). With the team possibly using its starters to help out the bullpen on their throw days (RJ was the closer for yesterday's game, Chacon threw an inning on his throw day) that could save Rivera and Gordon an inning here and there. Sturtze looks back to how he pitched earlier in the year and F-Rod can at times be servicable
. Small would be a phenominal long man, but he should be starting over Leiter. I like what I've seen from Proctor in a mop up role- he should be able to pitch an inning here and there.
Even Bernie is hitting now.
Womack plays a decent CF; he runs a lot of stuff down, which is all we ask of him.
Alex has rebounded from early struggles in the field and is playing like a GGer; he seems to make a diving play every game. The infield defense doesn't worry me at all; Cano is doing a fine job and Giambi, when he plays 1st is better than anyone expected.
Derek Jeter, Gary Sheffield, Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui will have to continue to shoulder the weight of the offense with Giambi's help, which I know they can do.
Sierra will be back at some point and he's the best pinch hitter (for Womack when Womack plays CF or when Flaherty catches) this team has. He also is a good DH. Very underrated and very valuable to this team.
Gordon will have to avoid breaking down like last season and starters pitching some innings will help him. Mo, you just let him do his thing and try not to overwork him too bad. He's the surest thing the team has.
Pray that Wang does come back in mid-September as hoped and can throw a couple good games.
Mendoza's return is a slight possibility, which would be nice, but it can't be expected.
With the injuries this team has suffered: Pavano and Brown out for the year, Wang possibly out for the season, Wright was hurt most of the year, Randy missed a few games, Felix missed a lot of time, I don't think anyone could have expected them to be as close as they are to the playoffs. Now that they've sured up the holes in the rotation with Chacon, Leiter and Small I think this staff can now do more than just tread water.
Odd as it is, I'm going to predict if Randy has problems the next outing, he's going to end up in the bullpen where he may be able to be more effective in shorter outings. Small would return to the rotation.
Oakland's pitching and Anahiem's bullpen do scare me and I could very well be wrong, but I'm optomistic about this team and I do think they can and will get it done as long as they can finally beat Tampa Bay
Whatever happens, it promises to be an exciting stretch run and I sure hope they make it.
*waits for the Yankee haters to dispute every single thing said in the post*
People can throw whatever stats about Small's past or anything, talk about road record, record vs TB or anything else, but it really doesn't matter; all we can do is wait and see; you all can hope they don't make it and I'll hope they do.