It might not have been a weird week, but I wanted alliteration. Lots has happened recently on my own personal sports radar, which has made it difficult to concentrate on work and school. It helps now that the Stanley Cup playoffs are over (poor Penguins), but the Yankees are starting to really get me curious about this season.
They have been hovering around the .500 mark all season (mostly below), but lately they have shown hints that they might compete for a playoff spot. A-Rod is starting to finally find his stroke after a stint on the DL (as I write this, he just hit his 10th homer of the season, tying the game at 2). Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi, perhaps the two Yankees I dislike the most (I don’t really count Carl Pavano anymore), are showing me that they want out of my doghouse. Giambi has hit three homers in the last four days and has hit .326 since my birthday (he attributes his current hot streak to his hideous new mustache). Damon is one of the hottest hitters in the league right now, hitting .377 in the last month and going 6-6 in a game last weekend. Another Yankee who struggled mightily last year who is playing great in 2008 is Mike Mussina, who already has nine wins, and if the Yanks could have scored a run in the bottom of the eighth this afternoon, could have had his tenth. Joba Chamberlain is still adjusting to his new role as a starting pitcher, but his second outing was much better than his first. He should help immensely in the stretch run. Sweet swinging Robbie Cano has been struggling, but has shown signs of breaking out of his season-long slump. What is encouraging about his at bats is that he hasn’t been striking out much, which means he is making contact. Those outs should start turning into hits more often.
It’s hard to not get my hopes up – going into this afternoon’s game the Yankees were only one game above .500 and 6.5 games behind the division-leading Red Sox. I think the Yanks can overtake the Rays for second in the division, and with Ortiz out indefinitely for the Sox, possibly the division. Seeing how bad the usually-strong Central Division is doing, the Yanks will have a real shot at the Wild Card come September. However, our GM Brian Cashman can’t be lax at the trade deadline – we desperately need some bullpen help (especially with Joba no longer there). I also think we should sell high on Damon or Giambi to get another stud young pitcher like C.C. Sabathia or Erik Bedard (rumor has it they will be shopped around if the Indians and Mariners aren’t in it). If we can land a great pitcher, Joba could move back to pitch the 8th inning, which would help us in two positions with the acquisition of one player.
In other news, Michael Strahan announced his retirement from the New York football Giants this morning. Strahan was always one of my favourite Giants, and should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He was a great leader for the Giants, and I’m sure he’s glad he decided to come back last year to win a Super Bowl (unlike another Giant great who decided to work out his mouth in criticizing the Giants instead of playing with them). The only questionable action I can remember Strahan being involved in was when he was chasing the single-season sack record in the last game of the season and Brett Favre mysteriously fell down, giving Strahan the 22.5 sacks needed to break the record. Happy trails, Mr. Strahan, I’m glad you went out on top. I’d probably be more upset if we didn’t still have a great defensive line.