On Sunday night the Yankees looked at all of us--the fans, the media and the casual observers--and said: “Beware the small sample size.” Sunday’s game was exactly what the team needed after they went 1-4 in their first five games and looked terrible in the process.
In Sunday’s game, the Yankees batted around in the first inning, scoring seven runs, including three on home runs by Chase Headley and Stephen Drew (yes, that Stephen Drew). The collective sigh of relief from Yankees Universe was so deep it could have caused a permanent wind shift in the Bronx.
For the small segment of fans who sank into despair, hope was back and a successful season was again a possibility--for at least one night. For the majority of fans who refused to even consider that this season had been decided in five games, it was slight vindication. Fourteen runs in one game after scoring just 17 across the fist five? Yes, that definitely felt good.
Which is not to say that there weren’t still some legitimate concerns during the game:
The defense was once again shaky as Brian McCann failed to corral two wild pitches from Masahiro Tanaka that seemed very catchable, and Drew and Didi Gregorius (mainly Didi) teamed up to commit two costly errors. Given how poor the defense and the base running have been through the first six games, this is definitely something that merits watching.
Tanaka was decent but not fantastic. His elbow (thankfully) didn’t fall off, but otherwise he did little to alleviate the concerns about the tear, as he managed just 5 IP while throwing 97 pitches and struggling with his control and pacing in the middle innings.
The bullpen was again called upon to get a chunk of innings. While Girardi was able to pull Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira out of the game early due to the lead, the bullpen wasn’t as fortunate and had to throw four innings. Fortunately Girardi was able to use Kyle Davies for his first professional innings since 2011, so Chris Martin’s arm won’t fall off just yet.
It is much too soon to say the Yankees are as terrible as they looked during the first five games and, much as we might wish it to be so, it is equally too soon to say they are as powerful as they looked Sunday night.
For better and for worse, for these Yankees, it’s simply too soon to know who they are.