Well, I'm not surprised that the Yankees were swept by the Angels. Did I ever mention how I feel about that team? In another season I might have said the Halos are kryptonite to the Yankees' Superman, but at the moment, I'm afraid they're more like Hep C to the Yankees' crack addict.
It's still May, but by now it's pretty safe to say this is just not the Yanks' year. When Mussina pitches badly, the bullpen is lights-out; when he pitches well, they blow the lead. All but two players have endured significant slumps at the plate at some point, and when rookie pitchers exceed expectations, they are injured, in weird and random ways. (Who doesn't think that when Phil Hughes finally gets back -- having now hurt an ankle on top of the hamstring -- something terrible will happen to him? Like a pigeon will fly into his face and partially blind him, or Kyle Farnsworth will slap him encouragingly on the back and break three of his ribs?)
The Yankees are still much better than their current record, and I'll be shocked if they don't end up well over .500. That, however, seems unlikely to earn them a playoff spot this year: at the moment they're twelve and a half games back from the Red Sox (!), and eight behind for the Wild Card. A comeback is still possible, sure. It's also possible that Clive Owen will knock on my door tomorrow night carrying an Al Green CD, a kitten, and a bottle of Glenlivet, but frankly, I'm not loving the odds.
There are plenty of elements of this team that can and should be criticized, and neither Cashman nor Torre are precisely covering themselves in glory here. But every team has an off year eventually, and the Yankees are way past due. They've always made their share of mistakes, but this time they made a few too many; at the same time, their massive stockpile of luck finally ran out. A number of Yankee fans, I've got to say, do not seem to be taking this particularly well. I suppose it was bound to come as a nasty shock, given that the last time the team had a record this bad in late May, I was... good lord, eight years old. That was 1990, for those of you keeping score at home. But as my mother always used to say: butch up, little missy. If the Yanks miss the playoffs this fall, it will be the first time in twelve years. Complaining loudly about this in public is understandable, but a bit unseemly.
More tomorrow on the Mets, who just swept the Marlins and have considerably more to be optimistic about. Even though they're one about one injury away from starting Oliver Perez in the outfield.