By Sweeny Murti
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So watching the Yankees the last few days I was suddenly reminded of the movie “Major League.” That happens nearly every time I’m in Cleveland — I mean, why wouldn’t it? — but this time it happened for another reason.
There’s a scene in the middle of the film when the ragtag Indians team is playing somewhat better than expected and the fans around town start saying, “These guys don’t look so bad.” Yes, I know I’m leaving out the colorful language. This is a family website, after all.
Given where we were with this Yankees team only a few days ago, maybe it’s not that much of a stretch to compare them to the fictitious Indians owned by ex-showgirl Rachel Phelps. The Yankees’ owners were bashed for being a bit frugal. And yes, they do have a few players that might make the general manager say, “I wish we had him five years ago.”
If Francisco Cervelli starts practicing voodoo in the clubhouse, frankly it might not surprise me all that much.
But let’s face it: This Yankees team is not being led by an old guy who uses Vaseline on the ball or a young kid who pitched in the California Penal League. These Yankees still have some star power of their own, and all you have to do is look at this three-game winning streak that has the Yanks back at .500.
CC Sabathia pitched like CC Sabathia. Andy Pettitte pitched like Andy Pettitte. And after a bad first week Robinson Cano started hitting like a guy who wants to get paid a lot of money. These are the guys who we knew had to carry the Yankees through their injury-riddled early months, right?
And about those guys who you wish the Yankees had five years ago? Well we’ve seen good starts from Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells. It’s hard to think that the guys they are replacing could have had a better start to this season. I’m not saying that this will go on for another three weeks. I’m not sure this will go on beyond Wednesday. But it is happening now, and the Yankees are basically doing what they need to do — stay within striking distance until you get some of your regulars back and start looking like the Yankee again.
In the meantime, these guys don’t look so bad.
Some other random thoughts:
*Pettitte’s first two starts were outstanding. Does he have 30 more left in him? They don’t all have to be that good, of course. I’m still just wondering how he holds up after not having pitched a full season since 2009.
*Good starts for the new guys will please Gene Michael. The former Yankees’ general manager, who remains one of Brian Cashman’s trusted advisors, told me a couple of weeks ago that he began his professional career in 1959 at Grand Forks, N.D., by going 0-for -40. Ever since, when acquiring players, he really hopes that the new guys get off to good starts. Wow … 0-for-40? Imagine the tweets he must have gotten.
*Sabathia’s velocity is still something to watch. Yes, he pitched well while throwing 90-91 mph against Detroit. But even he expects to gain a few mph as the season moves along.
*This Mariano Rivera farewell tour is kind of fun. I’m hoping that some team gets creative and gives him a crate full of broken bats as a going-away present.
*The movie “42” opens this weekend. It is not the Rivera story. It is, of course, about Jackie Robinson. It’s not for young children, given the coarse language that is necessary in telling the story of how things really were in 1947. But it is an important story to share and is well worth seeing. The man went through so much. His story cannot be told enough.
Can the Yankees continue treading water with this bunch until the big boys return? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…