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Monday, May 24, 2010

The Yankees, Unobstructed May 24

Mediocrity happens. The baseball season is long and teams inevitably go through slumps. But dropping two of three to the Mets? For shame.

That's the LAST PLACE New York Mets. The team so ugly even Willets Point is like "Ew, what an eyesore."

This weekend's Subway Series capped off what was an especially unproductive 17-day stretch for the Yankees. Today is their first off-day since May 6. In that period, they've gone 7-10, including five losses in the past week (two to the Mets).

17 days ago, we yearned for a team with solid hitting in the three and four spots. Mark Teixeira and Álex Rodriguez had unproductive Aprils, but the Yankees were succeeding anyway. The theory went something like — "if the Yankees are this good now, when AROD and Teixeira start hitting well, they'll be an Almighty Super-team. A squad so powerful league commissioner Bud Selig will have no choice but to institute a 10-run mercy rule, just to protect the fragile egos of the other teams and their fans."

We were so innocent then. So naïve.

As AROD and Tex found their swings, the Yankees found pitching mediocrity. For the season leading up to May 6, the Yankees had a 3.45 team ERA, in the 17 days since, they've managed a 4.71. In their last eight games, they've held their opponents to less than five runs only once.

Sitting six games behind first place, it's important to keep history in perspective. Last May, the Yankees were just as inconsistent, Joe Girardi's job was in jeopardy and baseball's favorite topic was that the Bronx's new stadium was a haven for other team's home runs.

By the end of June, the Yankees were dominating the American League East.

Let's hope for a similar recovery. I think it's coming.

NOTE: Make sure to check back every week for The Yankees, Unobstructed, BNN's weekly Yankees opinion column.

For more of Graham Kates' sports writing, check out his True/Slant blog "Coaches in the Crosshairs" (http://trueslant.com/grahamkates).


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