The New York Yankees May be Down but are Far From Out

By Nik Swartz
New York Yankees
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 New York Yankees season isn’t starting off well, is a statement that is being beat to death. Sports shows and social sites, from California to Maine, are telling the world something that is as obvious as money being green; the Yankees are hurting.

It is humorous how a team can slip down Power Rankings, or be counted out, without a pitch even being thrown in the actual season. Of course it is fun to write about and talk about, but the 2013 season hasn’t even started and the Yankees are already in the cellar.

This is a team that has to rely on their pitching and that hasn’t changed. So what exactly has changed? Some big name, overpaid power hitters are out until May. Well, Mark Teixeira always starts off slow, and Curtis Granderson, had one of the highest strike-out totals in all of MLB, last season. Will they be missed? Absolutely they will be; they have their flaws, but they’re good players and they’ll be back.

In sports, injuries happen. If managers had a choice when they would occur, the preference would be at the start of the season.

Major League Baseball is a 162-game regular season, and baseball is a marathon, not a sprint like football. In football, these big injuries would hurt a team a lot more.

With all the injuries and doubts about the team, the focus and pressure is off the Yankees and for once, everyone has counted them out. If the past has taught the sports world anything, it is to never count anyone out, especially the most successful franchise in MLB.

The Yankees may start off slow and get behind in the AL East, but when healthy, this is a decent Yankees team. It isn’t like the Al East is that powerful. If the Yankees do have a rough start this year, they have the players and time to get back into the race.

Everyone has already counted the 2013 Yankees out because of the injuries, the power lost from the 2012 team, and their age. What’s funny about this is how horrible that powerful lineup was in the playoffs. The playoffs put a microscope on the teams’ problems in 2012; they didn’t hit with RISP and relied too much on home runs. Many talk of last season’s team like they won the World Series, but they were lucky to even get out of the ALCS.

This Yankees team will struggle to score runs, they are going to have to play small-ball and they are going to lean heavily on their pitchers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t win.

The 2012 San Francisco Giants were not even a favorite to win their division, let alone the World Series. Looking back at what the “experts” had to say about them sounds eerily familiar – they would have trouble scoring runs with a weak lineup, they only had two players with any power, and they would need to rely heavily on their pitching staff.

In 2012, the Giants went through scoring droughts, lost a player having an MVP season to suspension, had multiple injuries to their best power hitter, and the best pitcher on their team had the worst season of his career. Even with distractions, injuries, and a soft-hitting lineup, the Giants played as a team, persevered, and won the World Series.

No one is saying the 2013 Yankees are the 2012 Giants, the comparison is more to put a baseball season into perspective. This is for all those that love to see the Yankees lose, and to show how little anyone really knows right now, which is one of the greatest things about sports – anything can happen.

Before jumping on the Yankees’ grave, take into consideration a few things: it isn’t just early, it is early-early; the season hasn’t even started; Teixeira and Granderson will be back and maybe even Alex Rodriguez.

Something to bring a little light to Yankee fans in this time of gloom and doom, is the 2007 team. On July 1 2007, they were in third place, 10.5 games back, a record below .500, and were nowhere near as good as the 2013 Yankees.

The 2007 team ended that season with a 94-68 record, didn’t win the division title, but did get into the playoffs via the Wild Card. Now with the extra Wild Card, it is ridiculous to count out any team this early, especially the Yankees.

Nik Swartz is the Featured Columnist for the New York Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @Sweetnesz13

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