Before last night’s win put the Yankees back into sole possession of first place in the American League East, general manager Brian Cashman provided a pretty blunt assessment of what the Yankees had been doing for the past seven weeks and what they planned on doing for the next month.
“We’re just not playing up to the best of our abilities, that’s all,” he said. “It’s a collection of stuff like that. You can talk about it all you want, but it’s not about where we were, it’s where we’re going to be. We intend to win the American League East.”
Tonight the Yankees begin a four-game series in Baltimore, where the Yankees could reestablish themselves as the division favorites or sink under the weight of further disappointment and missed opportunities.
“This stuff happens,” Cashman said. “It’s not easy when you’re going through it, but we’re better than the way we’re playing recently. We look forward to proving that out. I’m not embarrassed that we’re in a pennant race because there’s a lot of good teams here. We expected to be in one all year. I’m a little more surprised, to be honest, that we pulled 10 games up for a period of time.”
As you might expect, Cashman expressed his belief that the current roster is good enough to win — “I’m never not open to doing anything that could help us out, but actively looking I think would be an aggressive word,” he said — and Cashman dismissed the idea that the Yankees older players are running out of gas. In fact, he said the Yankees age is a benefit at a time like this.
“When you’re talking about age, age implies veterans,” Cashman said. “We’ve got a lot of veteran leadership here. These guys have been through a lot over the course of their careers. A lot of them have tasted a lot of success, and certainly at times, they’ve had to deal with failure. All that stuff will serve you well when you’re running into struggles.”
The Yankees began to right their ship last night, but a one-game lead is hardly comfortable heading into these four games against the surprising Orioles. That massive division lead is gone. All that’s left to do is build a new one.
“The security blanket is over,” Cashman said. “The only way to do anything about that is to try to separate yourself from the pack again. We’ve done it once. Why can’t we do it again?”
Associated Press photos