I don't know what my deal was yesterday, but I was in a funk all day. Syanpses weren't firing upstairs, body felt tired. Apparently I needed an off-day just as much as some of you more pessimistic readers did and just as much as the Yankees did after their stinkbomb of a weekend against the Blue Jays. This morning I feel better, and that's despite waking up at 2 AM and not really falling back asleep. I'm taking that as a good sign and running with it, just as the Yankees hopefully take their off-day as a chance to hit the rest button and move on from last weekend. With that now firmly in the rearview, here are some reasons to feel good about the Yankees as they head out to Cleveland to start 16 games in 16 days. They Can't Hit Much Worse Than They Have
Everybody knows the numbers by now and how far back some of them went in terms of describing the team's historical offensive ineptitude over the past 4-5 games. It was awful, no other way to describe it. The Yankees barely created any real scoring chances against Boston and Toronto and most of the runs they scored were on solo home runs. Ellsbury, Gardner, A-Rod, Teix, and McCann are all slumping at the same time and Stephen Drew has turned back into the rotten, decaying pumpkin he's always been. Put that 5-game sample up against the rest of the season, however, and you have to think there's no way the Yankees will continue to hit this poorly. They've been too good of an offensive club all year to go completely sour now. A few guys will start to break out of it, some bad luck will normalize, A-Rod will swat a few homers, and everything will be fine. It only takes 1 swing to break out of a slump.
Joe Can't Manage Much Worse Than He Has
As putrid as the offense was last week, Joe made things much worse with his decision making. He got tremendous starting pitching from his rotation and he straight up cost his starters and his team potential wins in at least 2 of those games. Who knows how differently Sunday's game could have turned out if he got Nova out and Warren in sooner? Who knows what happens if he sticks with Andrew Miller longer? Whether it was pitching changes, lineups, possible bunt calls, or pinch hitting decisions, Joe was brutal last week and he needs to get it together. No need to over-manage and micro-manage just because you're in a pennant race. And if you must, at least be consistent with it.
Severino Goes Again Tonight
If you watched his debut last Wednesday, you know that Luis Severino has got the stuff to hang. Experience-wise he was in way over his head and he still came out firing, looked calm and comfortable, and looked really good save for the 2-0 pitch to Ortiz. Because of that inexperience, there's something he can and will take from every start, and that on-the-job training teamed up with the Rothschild Effect should serve to make him even better. The Indians are nothing special with the bats, but they do take a lot of walks and don't struck out much. Severino will have to be more consistent with his fastball tonight to keep his pitch count down and work deeper into the game. If he does that, I expect he'll pitch 6 innings or more and if that happens I expect the rest of his line will look good.
Bullpen's Well Rested
Between the off-day and Sunday's game, both Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller have had 2 straight days off and 3 in the last 4. Justin Wilson and Chasen Shreve have each pitched once in the last 3 days, and Adam Warren should be good to go tonight after 2 straight short appearances on Friday and Saturday. The Yankees are set up to be able to take on more work if the starters don't pitch deep into games and allow Joe to get aggressive with his top 2 late in games if his team has the lead. That's a very favorable position to be in.
Immediate Chance for Redemption
After the Cleveland series, the Yanks will head to Toronto for another 3-game weekend series with their top division competition. That means they get an immediate chance to make up for last weekend and right the wrongs from that series. Take 2 of 3 in Toronto and maybe gain1 more game against the Indians and suddenly the Jays are 6 back in the loss column again. The Yanks have Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka, and Severino lined up to pitch that series, and they should open it on Friday against David Price. It would be pretty sweet to get back to smacking him around and it would be even sweeter to repay the favor of spoiling a big home series.
The Yankees weren't that far away from winning 2 of 3 last weekend. Assuming they are going to hit better next time around, and I'm confidently making that assumption, you have to like their chances this weekend. Win that series, hopefully after winning this Cleveland series, and everything goes back to normal.