So, this has been a fun week. After 2+ seasons of covering the Yankees on an hour-by-hour basis, I'm trying to consumer games like a normal person, and I must admit, it gives you an entirely different perspective on things. Instead of watching every pitch of every game and jotting down notes, statistical tidbits, internet column ideas, etc., I've done a lot more flipping through channels to different games when things have gotten a bit dull, and done a lot more juggling of chores during the games. Did I mention that this gives you a very different take on things? Because at times it's felt like an entirely different game than the one I've been following since 2009 or so. With that said, here are a few semi-connected thoughts after the first week of the new season:
1. On a league wide scale, it's fairly amusing how much people overreact to these early games. I know I'm not breaking any new ground here, but it really remains striking how hard it is to remember that just because these are the first six games of the season doesn't make them any more important or telling than any other six games stretch in the season. I guess it's because the numbers haven't been balanced out at all, for better or worse, and because we just can't condition ourselves to be pre-emptively conscious of just how long the baseball season is, but it's fun to watch all of the overreactions all the same.
2. Along those lines, here were the Yankees' leaders in wRC+ entering play on Sunday: Kevin Youkilis (220), Vernon Wells (195), Francisco Cervelli (168), Eduardo Nunez (160), and Travis Hafner (147). Robinson Cano checks in at...-9. Yeah, just enjoy the absurdity of it all.
3. As for the team as a whole, the first week or two of the season typically puts how arbitrary, for lack of a better word, the sequencing of wins over a season can be. Last year, of course, the Yankees got swept by the Rays in the first series of the year (and were at the bottom of the division in late May), but still went on to win more games than anyone else in the A.L. This year, the Yankees are off to a 2-4 start, which isn't good, but there's a lot of ways to find a silver lining in it. C.C. Sabathia is usually not very good on Opening Day, and it typically turns out okay. Hiroki Kuroda was knocked out of a game early thanks to a freak incident. Phil Hughes got beat around after returning from an injury early. And even if it weren't for all of those caveats, you're still going to have stretches where you go 2-4 during a season and your starting pitchers aren't super. If nothing else, it's not as though the Yankees are the only team with playoff hopes who aren't happy about how their season has begun.
4. Oh yeah, and they capped the week off by shutting out the Tigers and scoring three runs off of Justin Verlander. Championship!
5. All of the above notwithstanding, there's plenty of reason to worry about what the rest of the month may bring. The next 20 games are all against teams with legitimate playoff hopes, including a combined 13 against the Orioles, Rays, and Blue Jays. The Yankees won't see another "non-contender" until the Astros come to town on the 29th. With so many injuries to key starters, a slow start for the starting pitchers could put the whole team into a very deep hole before the likes of Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson even see the field.
6. Finally, a simple question: is this not the least exciting Yankees' team in the last 15 years, give or take? Maybe it's my lingering anger at letting Nick Swisher or Russell Martin walk, or seeing an everyday lineup in which Francisco Cervelli is not the worst hitter, but there have been times when I was less interested in watching this group than I was in watching the Reds' 15-0 route of the Nationals. Anyone else feeling the same so far?