There Will Be No Riverdance for Papelbon This Fall

July 1, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The New York Yankees defeated the Seattle Mariners 8-5 Tuesday night in the Bronx to move 12 games over .500 for the first time this season.

Yankees’ hurler Joba Chamberlain (4-2, 3.89 ERA) yielded three runs on nine hits over 5 1/3 innings to help the Yankees notch their sixth straight victory in the no-decision.

Bombers manager Joe Girardi said he is pleased with Chamberlain’s efforts to date, and he insinuated that he is not worried his precocious ace will cower under pressure and begin to smoke meth with his estranged mother, Jacqueline Standley.

“The bottom line is we’re 10-5 in his starts,” said Girardi, one of the most unlikable leaders the field of athletics has seen since John Goodman’s character in Revenge of the Nerds. “Pretty much every game he goes out, he keeps us in. The expectations are so high, I think people expect him to be 15-0 at this point, and that’s not really fair.”

Chamberlain, 23, is a very solid starter and when Chien-Ming Wang’s bummed hoof is entirely healed, the Yankees will feature an extremely formidable staff.

Wang (1-6, 10.06 ERA) finally earned his first win since last June this past Sunday when he stifled the New York Mets bats in a 4-2 victory.

Bombers catcher Jorge Posada, believes Wang is destined to regain the form that made him one of Major League Baseball’s most accomplished recent pitchers.

“It seems like every time he goes out there, he has more confidence,” Posada, 37, said. “If we get this guy straight, we’re going to have a fun summer.”

Wang, 29, entered the season with a .754 winning percentage (46-15), which was the best mark among active pitchers from 2006-2008 with a minimum of 60 starts.

Girardi conceded that the win was vital for Wang strictly from a mental standpoint alone.

“I think it’s a great win for him,” Girardi said about the two-time 19-game winner. “Everybody needs a win, no matter how well you are pitching. You need to have some fruit for your hard work.”

The Yankees skipper also mentioned that Wang’s spot in the starting rotation was further solidified by his recent performances, and he hinted that there was no reason for the Taiwanese icon to begin collecting food stamps.

“I haven’t said to him, ‘You need to show me something’ for a long time now,” Girardi responded when asked whether his confidence in Wang is solid.

The Yankees (44-32) currently stand a measly three games behind the Boston Red Sox (48-30) for first place in the American League East, and no squad has played better baseball than the Bombers have since Alex Rodriguez returned to their roster from the disabled list on May 8.

With a healthy A-Rod, the Bombers flaunt one of the most powerful and explosive lineups in the sport, and one can safely predict that they will continue to score runs at a relatively blistering pace henceforth.

So, like usual, pitching will ultimately decide the Yankees fate in the second half of the season.

If New York’s starting rotation develops into a fearsome quintet as expected, the only glaring question mark remaining on their roster comes from their middle relief.

The Yankees had hoped that Brian Bruney (3-0, 3.95 ERA) would prove to be a reliable seventh and eighth inning bridge to closer Mariano Rivera (1-2, 2.84 ERA).

Unfortunately, Bruney, 27, has consistently screwed up when he has been afforded with opportunities this season, and he has presently shown that he is as dependable as a Fung Wah Bus.

“I’m not panicking about Brian Bruney,” Girardi said. “I think he’s going to pitch very important innings for us. We just have to get him on track.”

Unless Girardi is actually Corky Thatcher dressed in disguise, the much-maligned skipper will soon promote pitching prodigy Phil Hughes (3-2, 4.44 ERA) into Bruney’s current role.

Once Hughes, 23, matures into a dominant set-up man for Rivera, 39, the Yankees will simply need to have an advantage on the scoreboard after seven innings and the game’s outcome will often be determined by that point in the contest.

The Red Sox are a dynamic franchise that is run with steely precision by the brilliant baseball minds of “Theo and the Trio,” and it would be foolish to overlook the team based on Yawkey Way.

Nevertheless, the Sawx resident slugger, David Ortiz, has struggled mightily to this point, and there is understandable rumblings coming out of Beantown that the fat, gap-toothed has-been from the Dominican Republic is more washed-up than one of The Golden Girls.

Despite their bevy of strong arms, it is difficult to envision that the Red Sox can manage to succeed in October without the presence of Manny “Estrogen” Ramirez and the production of Ortiz, 33.

There is no doubt that Boston’s offense has performed admirably yet again through the first three months of this season.

Still, their offense, on paper, appears as intimidating as Clay Aiken in a wife-beater, and it is easy to imagine that the Red Sox will fold like one of Don Rickles’ old suits when the autumn begins to approach.

Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon will not don goggles and perform one of his curious Riverdances on the Charles this year.

In fact, the only goggles that Papelbon will sport will be of the Arabian kind, and there will be a 27th championship banner flying from the new Yankee Stadium come November.



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