There exist in the world Yankees fans who are not the stereotype of a Yankees fan. I was as surprised to find this out as anyone ever could be. With the Orioles and Yankees set to begin a three-game series tonight, it's time to check in with a recurring Camdencast guest, my good friend and fellow blogger Tanya Bondurant from Pinstriped Bible, to get a Yankees fan perspective on the upcoming series and the season to date.
Q: Let's dive right in to the biggest burning question there is: as a Yankees fan, do you have to personally contribute a vial of blood to the dark magic Brian Cashman performs? This must be why Vernon Wells is slugging over .500.
Tanya: I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it may incriminate me in some way, but it's totally not anything that Dan Duquette didn't also do with Nate McLouth!
Let the record show that there were not any bandages on either one of our arms.
Q: Wells is just scratching the surface for unlikely comebacks from suckitude. You've also got the surprising performance of Lyle Overbay and Travis Hafner. Do you think they will keep contributing for the rest of the year?
Tanya: I want to believe, but honestly, I don't think there is any way that all of them can sustain their success over a full season. Luckily, they shouldn't have to once a few of our invalids come back...if they come back.
Q: The MASH unit that is the Yankees is one of the big stories in baseball this year. Who do you think will be trickling back in over the next couple of months, if anyone?
Tanya: Mark Teixeira seems to think he'll be back before the end of May, but Jose Bautista tried to return from the same injury too soon last year and ended up needing season-ending surgery, so hopefully Tex doesn't rush it. Ivan Nova and Joba Chamberlain could be back by the time the next series begins, but honestly, I don't think anyone is missing either one of them too much right now. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez are both due back after the All-Star Game, but both are old and had pretty concerning injuries, so banking on either one of them wouldn't be the smart bet.
Q: It doesn't even sound like you miss them that much! I can imagine patience with Chamberlain is wearing thin after that incident with Mariano Rivera. Can you give us a little something to feel better about? Maybe the Steinbrenners miss the $22,354 per hour they are paying to players on the DL, something? (The Orioles are paying $5,038 per hour to DL players.)
Tanya: Well geeze, when you put it that way... ugh, that is ugly. No wonder people think that the goal of a $189 million dollar payroll is becoming less of a goal by the day, if you ever really believed it was a real goal to begin with. Phil Hughes isn't on the DL, and after his last start against the Mariners, that should at least make you feel better. It doesn't provide me with any comfort.
Q: What would you do with $22,354 per hour? Let's say you were getting paid for the privilege of watching the three games of this series.
Tanya: That's a nice gig, someone should make that happen. I'd say that I'd buy season tickets in those seats for people who don't know what a home run is behind the plate at Yankee Stadium, but I'm pretty sure they don't let you in there if you are planning to show up for the game or intend to pay attention.
Q: Also, I think that would buy you precisely one Legends seat for one game, and not even one that would get you on TV.
Tanya: Instead, I'd use it to pay Robinson Cano immediately.
Q: I was thinking maybe I would use it to get a head start on a mortgage some day, but I might feel a little differently if the Orioles had a player who's played at least 159 games each of the past six seasons and been worth 4+ fWAR in five of those six seasons. Must be nice to have a guy with that kind of track record of health and performance.
Tanya: Sure, take the practical route! I need to make sure Robbie is always a Yankee for my happiness. No financial security can make me as happy as seeing him hit monster home runs for the foreseeable future on my team will! But, then again, I'm not almost 30 like someone we know, so...
Q: That's my payback for the joke about the vial of blood, isn't it?
Tanya: Fair is fair.
Q: Unless Angel Hernandez is here to rule that it's foul.
Tanya: The human element is so exciting, we common people just wouldn't understand.
Q: Speaking of things that are exciting, the starting pitching matchup in the first game of this series is CC Sabathia vs. Freddy Garcia.
Tanya: Speaking of players I don't miss...
Q: You mean you don't miss the 5.20 ERA Sweaty Freddy put up for the Yankees last year? I'm telling his mother on you!
Tanya: You start praying that his smoke and mirrors act can hold up one more time when he walks off the mound the start prior. And as for CC, he has had trouble in the first inning of games this season, but he's been very much the pitcher we expect him to be for pretty much the rest of the time he's on the mound. He doesn't like extra rest, though, so that could be something to watch out for.
Q: So it might actually be a good thing that he was pushed back into this series? I'll believe it when I see it!
Tanya: A slightly off CC is still a lot more comforting to me than Freddy Garcia, and I say that with way too much experience and full understanding of the lack of comfort Freddy Garcia starts bring.
Q: Orioles fans are already uncomfortably familiar with the Freddy Garcia Experience after only three starts. So, next up is Phil Hughes for Tuesday's game, who has been, if I might borrow one of your favorite phrases, a dumpster fire. What is his problem?
Tanya: The same thing that has always been his problem: inconsistency and home runs. He'll make some team in a big ballpark very happy after this season, I'm sure.
Q: I like to imagine the Red Sox signing him, personally.
Tanya: I don't want to risk him being the Phil Hughes the Yankees thought they had for them, so I hope he decides he wants to go back home to the west coast like most people assume. Out of sight, not constantly weeping about his minor league numbers, or something.
Q: Then again, most people assumed that Wednesday's starter, Hiroki Kuroda, would be going to the west coast, and he re-upped with the Yankees for another year. He's rewarded you by averaging over 6 IP/GS with a 1.99 ERA. I don't even have a question about him. I'm just in awe.
Tanya: He's been our best pitcher this season and was the best pitcher for long stretches of last season too. I was skeptical when they first signed him, but he's been more than anyone could have hoped for.
Q: Turns out if you get over 50% ground balls, that'll play just about anywhere against just about anyone.
Tanya: You'd think some of it would rub off on Hughes by proxy, but nope.
Q: You know all about that legendary Mark Brown optimism. Give me one reason to cling to for why the Orioles' current five-game losing streak isn't about to become an eight-game losing streak.
Tanya: Hughes! I wouldn't be shocked if he didn't immediately rebound from his nightmare start against the Mariners. It's always possible that the lineup will remember who they are and turn into pumpkins at a moment's notice, I suppose.
Q: So it must be Hughes against the recently de-blistered Miguel Gonzalez. I wouldn't be shocked if Hughes threw a perfect game, because that's how things are going right now.
Tanya: It doesn't seem like offense is the problem, and Hughes hasn't been stingy with that. A perfect game would bowl me over.
Q: In the parlance of the immortal Jim Joyce: STRAHEEEEEEEEEK!
And there you have it. Thanks to Tanya for filling us in on a little of what's going on with our divisional opponents. If you'll excuse me, I've got to go daydream about what it would be like to be paid $22,354 per hour. Mmm, paychecks... (Homer Simpson drooling)