Then they lost four in a row twice in the past two weeks.
Before yesterday’s offensive outburst, it was easy to forget that the Yankees had the best record in the American League. It was easier to focus on the nine losses in 12 games. It was easy to miss the sizable division lead and see nothing but missed opportunities.
“We don’t like losing around here, man,” Nick Swisher said. “This isn’t the type of team that deals with losing very well. That’s not our style. We feel like we’re a winning group of guys. Four games in a row? Joke’s over. Enough is enough.”
Good teams go through bad stretches. Jack Curry pointed out on Twitter yesterday that the 2011 Cardinals lost nine of 12 at one point. So did the 2010 Giants. The 2009 Yankees lost nine of 13, and the gold-standard 1998 Yankees lost eight of 12.
“The thing about this team is, we’re not needing one guy to go ahead and do it,” Curtis Granderson said. “The fact that (Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira) are out right now and banged up a little bit, we still can go the way we need to. We still have all the pieces to go out there and win ballgames. That’s the main thing we need to do. We’re not into September yet. We’ve got to focus on the fact that today is August (2nd), our next game will be August 3rd and that’s why we’ve got to go out there and realize that’s the most important thing.”
The Yankees are far from perfect. They hit for more power than average. They’ve pitched well, but their pitching depth has taken a hit. They’re reliable in the field, but not especially dynamic. This team is flawed, just like every other team, but the Yankees are still very good. Yesterday’s lopsided win was a reminder that they have a six-and-a-half-game lead in the American League East for a reason.
“I want it to be 20 games, you know?” Swisher said. “Who doesn’t? We just want to go out there and win games. It’s (the media’s) job to scoreboard watch for us. We feel good right now with where we are. We’re still a little banged up. To be putting up the numbers that we are with the injuries we’ve dealt with, I think that says a lot about this team.”
Associated Press photo