Since when did fifth starters become so dire? It’s amazing, you’d think pretty much any team in the league would kill for a front four of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and Joba Chamberlain, but no. Yankee fans never have enough. I understand how important it is for the team to add a starter because Joba is eventually going to have to move to the bullpen to control his innings, but please, let’s not act like it’s the end of the world because the Yankees didn’t acquire Brian Bannister, Jon Garland, Doug Davis, or some other career back end starter who’s never lived the AL East life yesterday.
The more pressing issue right now is that the team is making too many mental mistakes. You can live with Andy Pettitte or Sergio Mitre slipping on the infield grass, or Robbie Cano throwing a double play ball wide of first because the runner was right on top of him, that stuff happens. It’s part of the game. It’s when Melky Cabrera throws to the wrong base to show off his arm. It’s when there’s not even someone on second for Melky to throw to the right base to in the first place. It’s when Alex Rodriguez coasts out of the box and gets thrown out by ten feet on second trying to stretch a double. Stuff like that is inexcusable.
Every team loses three of four at some point in the season, multiple times in fact. But the Yankees have looked flat and seemingly disinterested at times during those loses. The roster is loaded with veterans from top to bottom, and these guys should know better, but when they fall into these collective lapses the coaching staff has to step up. You can bet the fifth starter issue will be addressed this month and Mitre will go the way of Tim Redding, Darrell May, and Scott Erickson. That problem will be addressed. But if the team doesn’t get their heads out of their asses, they’ll be looking up at the Red Sox when they come to town next week.