It's really unfair how fast the season goes. The winter days are long and boring, and when baseball finally starts up again, I can't focus all of my attention on it because school takes over. And by the time I'm finally out of school and ready to devote my life to this wonderful game, it's halfway over. So the old cliché of "It's a long season" kind of bothers me, because for me, it isn't long at all. I do understand that for the teams, the players, and the standings, the season is long, and you really do have to take things one day at a time or else you will drive yourself crazy as I have done many times.
But certain points in the season are markers for teams and fans alike to take a step back and analyze the bigger picture: where are they now, what have they overcome, and what are they going to next. And finally, where will they end up.
The Yankees have played 80 games so far this year and will be at the halfway point today. I know I'm one of those crazy fans who dwells on every moment, good or bad, and I said I would try not to do that anymore. But now is one of those checkpoints in the season where it is okay to look at the bigger picture.
80 games into the season, the New York Yankees are 49-31, 2.5 games ahead of the anointed-champion Boston Red Sox. Currently, the Yanks are on a 6-game winning streak, their longest so far this season.
I discussed the thought in my last article about how I wasn't sure if the Yankees were really good enough to be in first place, because by watching them every day, I saw a lot and dwelled on everything that happened. But looking now at that 49-31 record, and remembering how they have managed to stay in it even without their best players on the field, I can truly say that I do believe this team has what takes to win, and they are more than deserving of that first place spot.
If you calculate along the same trend as this half of the season, the Yankees will finish with an approximate record of 99-63. But honestly, I don't think they will play to the same trend in the next half. I think they'll be better.
The Yankees have dealt with more injuries this season than I ever thought possible, so even if they do get more injuries in the next half, I don't think they can falter much, especially since they have not done so yet. With each passing game, players - key players - are inching closer to their return. Derek Jeter will soon slide back into the leadoff spot, making the entire lineup that much deeper. And when you have guys like Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Jorge Posada (who will soon see regular playing time because interleague play will be over), and Russell Martin finally hot when they weren't for a large chunk of the season, the already-dangerous lineup becomes a little more imposing.
Phil Hughes is almost back, and Bartolo Colon will actually make his first start since activation off the DL today against the Mets. Rafael Soriano, if all goes well, may be back after the All-Star break. The Yankees pitching has been doing so well though, that they are seriously considering having a 6-man rotation, because Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia have played too well to be moved. And adding an arm like Rafael Soriano to the hottest bullpen in baseball further strengthens the Yankees in that area.
If for some reason, more changes need to be made to this Yankees team, I believe they can make beneficial changes. The trade deadline is fast approaching, and it's always an exciting time of year where Yankees fans can never predict what is going to happen. Even if they don't make any acquisitions, I'm fine with that, because I believe the team is strong the way it is now.
And with each day that passes, the players down below are getting a little bit more experience. Those highly thought of prospects that I've been itching to see in action may actually be ready to soon try things out at the Big League level. So if we see them, then great - I'm sure that will be exciting. And if we don't, that's fine too. That means the team didn't need them yet, which I'd say is a good thing.
Whichever way I look at it, I only see good things for my Yankees in the second half. These Yankees are fighters, and I'm confident that no matter what, my guys will find a way to win.
by Virginia Califano
Questions? Comments? Contact Virginia at firstname.lastname@example.org