What happened: The 2012 New York Yankees failed to sweep the inferior-in-every-way-that-matters-and-some-that-don’t Mariners, once again calling into question their will to compete over the course of a 162-game regular season.
True Yankee™ gainers: Phil Hughes, who not only pitched seven full innings for the first time since grade school, but actually hit 94 mph on the kind YES Network gun. Radar guns, like hips, don’t lie… Raul Ibanez, who has a real knack of guessing fastball - the one pitch he can still drive - at the precise right moment… Derek Jeter, who summoned the courage and tenacity to single through the left side of the infield mere innings after he hit into a pair of rally-gutting double plays. This guy, he’s just wired differently than the rest of us, he really is.
True Yankee™ waners: Nick Swisher, for attempting to extend that ninth-inning double into a triple, even if replays showed his hand hit the base ahead of the tag. His general awesomeness can only excuse so much… Andy Pettitte, who looked nothing like the guy who dueled John Smoltz for eight-plus innings in the 1996 World Series. That Andy Pettitte weighed at least 20 pounds less and had few specks of grey around the temples… Alex Rodriguez, whose failure to hit a five-run homer on Sunday robbed Pettitte of his first W since 2010. Can you think of a single player who lets down his teammates, fans and friends with such metronomic regularity? I bet he’s a lousy neighbor, too, and always leaves his turn sign blinking long after he has changed lanes.
What’s next: The Yankees head to Baltimore for a two-game series against the upstart Orioles, whose fans are practically begging for some bigger, mightier entity to put a boot on their throats about now. Seriously: the Pirates were in a first-place tie on July 25 last season and still managed to lose their usual 90 games. If the Orioles persist with their spirited uppity feistiness into August, then we can have a conversation. Until then, just play along.
True Yankee™ on the spot: Cory Wade. He has transcended his waiver-claim lineage and evolved into a key bullpen cog. But with the late-game pecking order shuffled after Mariano’s unfortunate KC turf dance, Wade might actually find himself pitching in a high-leverage situation or three. It’s in God’s hands now.