After their hot stretch of 10 straight wins, the Yankees dropped 3 in a row, but picked things up again and won 5 straight before losing 2 tough games to first place Chicago White Sox. When the Yankees are winning, their starting pitching is solid and gives length. And when they lose, for the most part, it’s a starting pitching issue. Take last night’s 14-7 blowout loss: 7 runs is usually enough to win, but when starting pitchers don’t perform and the bullpen becomes drained, the opposing offense is likely to explode, which is exactly what happened last night.

The Yankees are in a sticky situation, having lost two of their best starting pitchers in their ace CC Sabathia, and the best Andy Pettitte I remember seeing, to the injury bug. Many fans are now complaining that Brian Cashman is doing nothing to try and fix this problem. Yet even after rookie Adam Warren’s debut went roughly last night, I’m not worried. I do believe the Yankees have enough depth and options within their organization, so I don’t think they need to go through an “oh my God we need pitching now, let’s trade everyone” sort of frenzy just yet.

Besides, despite all the struggles the Yankees have endured so far this season, they still have a rather comfortable 4 game lead in the AL  East. And for the most part, all the “nobodies” they’ve gotten to fill in have really stepped up big. If all else fails with the pitching, just use Dewayne Wise! The guy has been unbelievable in his spot-starts in the outfield of late, and he was better than the rest of their pitchers last night on the mound as well!

In all seriousness, this next stretch of the schedule is going to be tough for the Yankees. After 2 more games at home against the White Sox, the Yankees head on the road for 3 games in Tampa Bay, a much-needed off day, then 4 games in 3 days against Boston in Fenway. Freddy Garcia will start, and I think Adam Warren will get another shot, too. Realistically, I expect the bullpen to see a lot of action in those games, and I pray that neither of those guys start in the double-header in Boston next weekend, because then the bullpen will really be drained.

Looking ahead, the second-place Baltimore Orioles have a tough schedule coming up for themselves as well, and the team hasn’t exactly been playing their best baseball right now anyways.  After finishing up a series at home with the Indians, the O’s will hit the road out west for 3 against King Felix and the Mariners, followed by 4 against the hot LA Angels. This is the time of year where the real good teams shine, and the not-so-good ones fall behind.

But the Yankees really shouldn’t be concerned with standings right now, and I guess I shouldn’t either. Lately I’ve been spoiled by a streaky, and oftentimes hot, Yankees team. The Yankees don’t have to win 5 or 10 in a row all the time. All they have to do is win series, and win against teams they’re supposed to win against. The Yankees have only lost 1 series this entire month. And although they’ve dropped the first 2 against Chicago, they still have a chance to split.

Right now this next week looks tough for the Yankees, but they’ve surprised me before when I didn’t believe they could. Heading out on the road the pitching issues that they have, I would be more than elated if my Yankees can go .500 through this stretch.

After this road trip, the Yankees will have a well-deserved rest due to the All-Star Break. All the guys that have been pretty beat up of late, like Russell Martin, can rest and recover without the pressure of feeling like they have to get out there and play, and subsequently re-injuring themselves.

I just hope no one else gets injured! 2 starters down is more than enough to overcome, but if any team can do it, the New York Yankees can. I wish them luck!

GO YANKEES!

by Virginia Califano