By Sweeny Murti
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Assuming you have power in the wake of Irene to read this, a few random thoughts:
*Who’s No. 2? Still a month to figure out who’s going to start behind CC Sabathia in the playoffs. I’m putting my money on Phil Hughes. Things can change—after all, I was stumping for Bartolo Colon about a week ago. I still think Bartolo can compete in the postseason despite his second half struggles. But Hughes is the guy who can be the difference maker. Now he needs to pitch like it. Because in the playoffs no one is scoring 22 runs for you.
*Speaking of that, incredibly cool to see something at the ballpark that’s never happened before, like three grand slams in one game.
Think about how rare this is. I’m not talking about no-hitters, perfect games, four home runs by one player in a game, 300 wins, 4000 strikeouts, 20 strikeouts in a game, 3000 hits, 600 home runs, cycles, or triple plays. All of these are interesting events and remarkable achievements, but all of them have been done multiple times.
If you were at last Thursday’s game against the A’s, you saw something that’s only happened once. Ever.
*Is A.J. Burnett ever going to find himself? It’s hard to see that now. People who have been around Burnett in the past have been texting and emailing me recently to tell me how lost he looks—physically, emotionally, mentally, and mechanically. That doesn’t sound like an easy fix, does it?
Burnett will not give you supreme confidence in anything right now. But the Yankees are not eating $33 million in salary to let him go. It’s just not the way anybody does business, even the Yankees.
But they are also smart enough to not give him a start in the postseason if he continues pitching like this. Remember, the Yankees are deeper and have more options now than they had a year ago. And playoff contenders like the Red Sox (Lackey, Wakefield), Tigers (Porcello), and Angels (Pineiro) are all working with starting pitchers who have ERA’s north of 5.00.
*Derek Jeter is batting .290 over the last 365 days according to Baseball-Reference.com splits. Although it comes with a .370 SLG, it is clear there is still some good baseball left in Jeter. He hit .292 in July and is batting .415 in August. He will inevitably cool off. And when he does, let’s try not to blame it on People Magazine. Its just baseball.
*Curtis Granderson for MVP? I’ll say yes not just because of his gaudy statistics. I’ll say yes because at various Jeter and A-Rod have missed significant time. I’ll say yes because Swisher, Posada, Teixeira, and Martin have all had long cold streaks. I’ll say yes because it’s one of the best all-around seasons in Yankee history, and they have needed his consistency while others around him have struggled.
*I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “hunker down” in the last 24 hours.