Okay, we're still just as doomed as C-3P0 in the hands of the Jawas. Let's not go nuts here. For a moment, though, how about we try and picture a scenario how the Yankees are not doomed? We can do this by looking at the previous week and a half of this sport we like to call baseball. I won't be looking at the stats. The other Houses look at stats. A curse on all of them. House Kirkland will instead just be looking at what we've seen from the AL East thus far. Who cares if it's only a week and a half into the season? If people can make predictions that the Yankees are doomed after Game One, to which I repeat GAME [expletivespn deleted] ONE, then we can have fun the other way around. House Kirkland is all about fun.
For starters, let's examine the standing as of today, because small sample sizes are fun.
New York: 4-4
Tampa Bay: 4-5
Well, would you look at that. It's relatively even, and the opposite of the majority of predictions. Of course it doesn't matter because it's still the beginning of the year, but humor me for a moment. Humor me all the time, if you so choose. Just from the first week and a half we can already see flaws in each team's design. The AL East is very competitive. There is no clear favorite for a various number of reasons and circumstances.
Since I enjoy exploring the failures of Beantown, we'll start with the Red Sox. What we've seen from Boston is the same problem we've seen from Boston the past two years of glorious, orgasmic failure: They have little to no depth. An injury here or there and they could immediately fall off. Could John Lackey be that injury? Could the injury-prone Clay Buchholz? It's the exact same problem as last year, albeit with less Bobby Valentine. We'll see if team chemistry can provide a cure for team physicality. SCIENCE!
Everyone is predicting the Orioles to regress. You know, because they're the Orioles and they cannot possibly keep up the same level as they did last year. Why not? It's no different than expecting the Blue Jays to succeed cause they got the Marlins. We'll get to them in the next paragraph. The O's greatest weakness is if the run differential from last year comes around to bite them in the tail feathers. Their pitching is still questionable, but then so is the pitching of the other AL East bird. Also, they have to stay healthy.
The Blue Jays may have absorbed the Marlins, but they also absorbed the Marlins' problems as well. Except for Loria, cause no size sponge could absorb that much filthy scum. They are hoping that Josh Johnson can stay healthy. They are hoping that Mark Buerhle can be somewhat dominant again. They are hoping R.A. Dickey can succeed in the American League. Sure, that's a Met problem, not a Marlin problem but they're similar enough. Also, their bullpen is still pretty non-threatening.
Speaking of non-threatening, the Rays' offense seems like just that. Nothing really new here. They win the same way people expect the Yankees to win in April. They rely on great pitching and timely offense. It's a pretty decent strategy that has worked well for them. Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist absolutely have to stay healthy though, as does their pitching. They just lost Jeff Niemann for the year, which could definitely hamper them a bit. He's no David Price. Then again, who is?
Finally, we come to our beloved New York Yankees. Now, you may have noticed a recurring theme in my Greg-valuation of the other contenders: injuries. It has most definitely hurt the Yankees coming into the year. Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Howard in accounting, Carol the Yankees' Clubhouse clerk, and Jerry, who just had his foot stepped on while on the bus driving past the stadium. Jeter and Grandy are out till May, A-Rod and Tex are still unknowns, and the Yankees are reLyleing on Lyle Overbay, Brennan Boesch, Vernon Wells, and the others to hold it together until they get back.
And so far, they are doing just that.
After the initial 1-4 record, which always makes me think of 1998, the Yankees' offense has exploded for runs. It's such a good feeling. I'm well aware that our winning streak consists of beating the Cleveland Indians. There was that one game against Verlander, though. It's promising to see thus far; and it optimistically got me to thinking how dangerous this team could really be. What turned out as a dismal Spring Training could really lead to a dominant season.
Think about what the Yankees had to do during the offseason. They had to prepare for an already injury-plagued team. Brian Cashman had to do his best to find bandages to patch this team together so the Yankees can do what they do best, which is compete. Those bandages have been on fire, which is both great, and a disturbing hospital image. Vernon Wells is swinging the bat really well. Francisco Cervelli is making a case for never starting Defensive Necromancer Chris Stewart. Kevin Youkilis is becoming the Greek God of Screw Walking Because I Can Hit! Even Boesch and Overbay are hitting decently enough. When the injured come back, the Yankees are looking at not only a potent offense, but a potent bench as well.
In having to prepare and patch early on for all their injuries, the Yankees might have inadvertently created a monster.
As of now, their real problem lies with their bullpen. Outside of David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, it's been rather shaky. The positive side is that it can possibly be improved from the minors with the help of House Bondurant's favorite sword and shield, Mark Montgomery. Plus David Phelps is most likely going to improve; although his future in the bullpen is questionable with what becomes of Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes. Add all that together, and I think you have a stronger Yankees team than we might have initially thought.
The ultimate point is that predictions like this are entirely based upon how you look at the situation at hand. I'm a raging optimist, but even I could see the danger in relying on these bandages and patches. Nevertheless, I see the AL East like I see the lyrics of the Rush song Circumstances which I posted above. The more that things change, the more they stay the same. And as of right now, I'm just going to start calling Brian Cashman "Bumi" from Avatar: The Last Airbender, who is described as a "mad genius" by Aang. We'll see how this all works out, though. It's all circumstantial.
This article was paid for with gold and jewels from the House Kirkland treasury.