The first month of the season is over, and here are some stats, observations, conjecture and questions that need to be answered.
Yanks post a 9-14 record to start the '07 campaign. Last in the East, and 2nd worst in the AL. Here's a scary thought, if not for the two improbable walk-off HRs by A-Rod, they'd be sitting at 7-16! Right now, it appears they are not ready or in shape for the regular season. There is a lack of intensity and at 6.5 back of the Sox, an air of urgency to start the month of May on a winning note would seem to be a must.
Here's what we know: The Boston Red Sox are a good team - possibly the best in the American League right now. Only noticeably weakness is their defense. This is a team that is built for the playoffs, they have 4 inning eating starters, a set up man and a closer who has the confidence that he is the next coming of Mo Rivera. They may be too good to catch.
What's working? Jeter, A-Rod, Pettitte, Posada, Henn (before today anyway) and Giambi
Who has possibly turned the corner? Igawa and Rivera
Changes to consider? Swap Cano and Abreu in the batting order. Give Pettitte a longer leash when he's on the mound. Declare a starting 1st baseman.
What's not working? Damon and his constant list of aches and pains. The job share at first base. Jeff Karstens, 2007 has not been kind to this kid.
Anything missing? Other than consistent starting pitching - yes, intensity. Jeter and A-Rod are class acts in terms of leading by example. However, I think right now, they need a leader from an emotional standpoint. Maybe that means making some changes and moving some furniture - the signing of Clemens, a managerial change to someone with more projected enthusiasm than Torre, or finding an above-average but well respected everyday player (think like a Paul O'Neil type) - all options should be on the table. Something is missing in my humble opinion and that something is the intangible that an emotional leader brings to a club. Someone needs to step up, or Cashman should strongly consider doing a deal.
What to look forward to: The press speculating on Torre's job status. Yanks start May with a pair of series against Texas and Seattle. Mussina set to return shortly, and possibly Pavano in 10 days or less. Melkey will be given another chance as Damon looks to get rested for a couple of games - if he does not produce any better than he has so far in '07, I'd like to see Kevin Thompson get his due.