Before I go all Dan Shaughnessy on you, let me stipulate that every team, no matter how good, has a rough stretch during a baseball season. There are 162 games, so it’s inevitable. Even the 1998 Yankees, the best team I’ve ever seen, lost six of eight games from Aug. 19-26. It’s counter-productive to get worked up about a bad two weeks for your favorite baseball team, because that fortnight represents about 8% of the season.
With that said…
On July 18, the Yankees improved their record to 57-34 with a 6-0 drubbing of the Blue Jays. The Yanks moved 10 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. They scored at least three runs for the 42nd straight game, the second-best stretch in the last 92 years behind the 1994 Cleveland Indians (48). And Mariano Rivera rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Life was good.
Since then, the Yanks have dropped eight of 11, including their first four-game swept since 2003. They have failed to score three runs in four of those 11 games. They dropped a home series to the Red Sox. Alex Rodriguez was hit by a Felix Hernandez pitch, broke his left hand, and is expected to be out until late September. Andy Pettitte suffered a bizarre setback when his latest X-ray showed about as much damage as the first one did — after a month of rehab. And this afternoon, Mark Teixeira received a cortisone shot for his swollen, ailing left wrist.
Teixeira was taken out of Monday’s game, which featured Yankee highlights (mammoth back-to-back home runs into the second deck in right field by Eric Chavez and Ichiro, his first HR as a Yankee), lowlights (Boone Logan surrendering two runs from a two-out, none-on situation in the seventh, the Yankees failing to bring the tying run home from second with no one out in the ninth), and lower lights (Teixeira exiting the game clutching his wrist).
The Orioles moved within 6.5 games of the Yankees with their win. Tonight, Ivan Nova takes the hill for a team desperately looking to stop the bleeding. I’ll be watching from the bleachers and hopefully bringing some momentum-changing mojo. Full recap tomorrow.