If last night’s Yankees victory over the Red Sox teaches us anything, it’s that the Yankees are a scary team when they’re able to field a healthy major league starting pitcher.Unfortunately for the Bombers, they haven’t been able to do that very often this season.
Last night, Chien Ming Wang went 6 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and two runs, while walking three and striking out five. That’s not even spectacular. It’s just good. It’s adequate. But it’s a hell of a lot better than most of the Yankees pitchers have fared this season.
Thanks to injuries, the Yankees have become the first team in baseball history to employ seven rookie starters through their first 42 games.
In addition to pitching injuries, New York has had to play without Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon for weeks at a time.
The Yankees had so many injuries to pitchers through the first month of the season that they fired their trainer, who only had the job a few months.
And that’s no recipe for success. You know makes for a very tasty recipe? Boston knows.
The Red Sox, who now hold a 9.5 game lead over the Yankees, recently put Josh Beckett on the DL, making Beckett the first Red Sox pitcher to miss a start this season. And his injury — a cut finger — shouldn’t even count. That’s not an injury. It’s a hindrance. It’s a bother.
There is little doubt that the Yankees’ hopes for mounting a comeback hinge entirely on their pitching staff’s ability to return to form and stay healthy. Mussina must regain the consistently he had last year. Clemens must be worth the multi-multi-multimillion dollar investment. Philip Hughes must prove he’s ready for the bigs.
That’s a lot of “ifs”.
Of course, if the Red Sox are going to stay on top, Beckett’s finger needs to heal, Schilling’s knees have got to continue to (improbably) support his gut, Wake’s knuckleball has to keep knuckling (it didn’t look so hot last night).
Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt if J.D. Drew stayed healthy, although that might be asking a bit much.