From First to Worst in 8.2 seconds…

 

Delaying the usual slow April start until May…

At the end of April, the New York Yankees, at 14-9, were atop the AL East Standings, one game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Boston Red Sox, then 11-15, occupied the cellar and were 4 ½ games behind the Yanks.

I knew the Sox had too much talent to stay down for long and it was only a matter of time until they would begin their charge.  I had hoped it would take several months to snap out of their funk but Boston has been the best team in baseball in May with a 19-7 record so far this month.  They are five full games better for the month than the next best AL East rival, the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Yankees, at 12-14 for the month, have been the worst in the division.

 

Seattle Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo, left, tags New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez on a strike out in the seventh inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Seattle. Photo: Elaine Thompson / AP

Elaine Thompson/AP

For the overall standings, the Yankees, along with the Rays, are just a couple of games behind Boston.  The Red Sox have clearly asserted their superiority and their arrival at the top of the division will most likely be a lengthy stay.  I recognize that Boston will go through its own peaks and valleys, but I hope the Yankees can keep it close until the team can potentially bring in reinforcements for the second half.  With the trading deadline still two months away, an extended Yankees losing streak would be devastating.

 

The ‘needs’ list keeps growing…

Sadly, the team needs more than a single bona fide #3 (or better) pitcher for the starting rotation.  The bridge to Mariano Rivera has been tenuous at best with Rafael Soriano’s health (or lack thereof) and the failures of others like Boone Logan and Luis Ayala.  Nick Swisher, despite his home run today, is playing his way out of New York as he has not hit well enough for the Yankees to pick up his option after the season.  Last year’s magic in Swisher’s bat seems to have departed.

 

Nick Swisher is still struggling against right-handed pitching.

Paul J. Bereswill/AP

The Yankees have lacked the key clutch hits of late.  The spots where Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera et al used to pick up late, game-winning hits now seem to be routine outs.  Lately, the Yanks have been scoring a few runs early and then try to hold off the opponent’s late rally.  The formula seems to end in failure more times than not, or so it seems even if it’s not true.

Curtis Granderson has been great but he can’t do it all by himself.  The Yankees seem to have gotten old very quickly.  The team needs a jumpstart.  It could be in the form of Alex Rodriguez or Robinson Cano getting hot and carrying the team on their backs or it could be a trade although a trade is still a longer term proposition at this point.  I guess these are the days when manager Joe Girardi has the opportunity to prove he is one of the best managers in baseball.

 

Boston Bruins versus Vancouver Canucks

Congratulations to my friend Julia, of Julia’s Rants.  Her Boston Bruins have made it to the NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals.  The failure of my team, the San Jose Sharks, to beat the Western Conference Champion Vancouver Canucks prevented a potential wager between Julia and me.  As it stands, I find myself pulling for the Bruins to win the championship and avenge the Sharks’ loss.

 

Bruins right winger Nathan Horton (right) scored with 7:33 left in the third period as the Bruins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday night at TD Garden.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff Photo

 

Mike Brown and Los Angeles Lakers…

I am not sure what I think about the selection of Mike Brown as the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.  I guess going from the legendary Phil Jackson to anyone is going to be a steep drop-off.  Brown did enjoy some success in Cleveland and he certainly has the credentials and ability to succeed.  Hopefully this turns out to be a good hire for the Lakers.

 

Mike Brown, LeBron James

Tony Dejak/AP

 

When will it be time for football?…

While I think it is great to see QB Christian Ponder talking with high school kids, I really wish that he was getting ready for the upcoming season with the Minnesota Vikings.  I am so ready for the NFL and the Players Association to end the lockout and give us our football…

 

Mei-Chun Jau/St. Paul Pioneer Press

 

–Scott

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