This week in Yankees baseball

yankeeslogo The ESPN broadcast of the Yankees game at Fenway Park had all the memes covered. Joe Girardi is having his best managing year. The Yankees have done a great job of staying relevant despite their $100 million of DL injuries. CC Sabathia is transitioning into a guy who cannot throw 95 anymore. But at least one meme was missing and it was a noted absence: If the Yankees can stay close until they get some of their horses back...

The horses ain't coming back. Mark Teixeira we already know about. Curtis Granderson will probably come back. But Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter? It just does not seem to be in the cards. And it does not matter really. The Orioles, the Rays and the Red Sox are all better teams even if Granderson, A-Rod and Jeter all play the last fifty games.

I do not know about you folks, but the reality set in quite a while ago for me that this was not going to be a good season. There will be no playoffs. There will be no wild card. They do not have enough to compete and there are three teams in their own division that are better. Heck, even Lyle Overbay is not smiling anymore.

A trade deadline deal would be stupid at this point unless they can get someone sort of on the cheap who is under team control next season. But a deal to compete this year would be a waste. Again, they are done. That is just my opinion. And in my opinion, they should trade Joba and consider whether they are better off getting a supplemental draft pick for Phil Hughes or trade him now for a couple of guys who are good risks.

Meanwhile, they have to play the schedule and the point of this weekly column is to talk about the week ahead. So I should probably get to that, eh? It is going to be a tough week.

It starts down in Texas against a Rangers' team that is scuffling themselves. Their pitching has seen a lot of injuries and the young guys they are trying in the rotation are not faring well. Meanwhile, the Rangers are not hitting like Rangers' teams of the past. But they are no patsies either and are tough to play in their home ballpark.

The first game features Ivan Nova versus Yu Darvish. Darvish has been held back lately because of shoulder soreness. That is never a good thing. The fact that he has been throwing all sliders lately is a clue that he is not healthy. But his biggest weakness has been walking guys and the Yankees are not a patient team. If the rest has done Darvish good, then the Yankees have little chance to win unless Nova is fabulous.

And that is not out of the realm of possibility. Most of us have gone so long seeing Nova struggle that his last few starts have seemed anomalous. But maybe he is this good and maybe he is starting to put it together.

The second game on Tuesday features Phil Hughes against Alexi Ogando. Ogando is coming off the disabled list and so it is difficult to know what to expect. If he is right, Ogando is tough. But there is no telling if he is fully recovered until he gets out there and pitches.

Phil Hughes in the jet stream at Arlington does not seem like a fun prospect.

On Wednesday, it will be the battle of left-handed pitchers in Andy Pettitte versus Derek Holland. First of all, the Yankees are almost helpless against left-handed starters. Secondly, Old Andy has been game but hardly great. The way the Rangers are hitting, it is possible for Pettitte to have a good game. But this still feels like a long shot for a Yankee win.

The fourth game of the series is one the Yankees have a chance at winning. The Yankees will have Hiroki Kuroda on the mound and he is their best pitcher. Plus, it is a day game and Kuroda is really tough to face during the day. Lastly, the Rangers have not decided yet to continue with one of their young guys and have not announced a pitcher for that day. I like those odds.

The Yankees will either split this series or lose three of four. I cannot see anything better than that.

After that day game on Thursday, the Yankees will fly back to New York for a weekend homestand and a series against the Rays. The Rays are playing great baseball right now, but at least the Yankees have a chance at home.

The Yankees have not announced pitchers that far ahead, but if the rotation remains constant, and that is one area that has remained constant, then it should be Sabathia, Hughes and Nova. I like the chances in two of those games.

Chris Archer is going for the Rays on Friday and he has been pitching really well in his last four outings. But then again, two of those were against the Astros and one was against the Twins. He was just okay in his last outing against the Blue Jays, a better hitting team (just one strikeout).

The Yankees will probably get Matt Moore on Sunday, but the crystal ball is hazy on who will go for the Rays on Saturday. The Yankees will not see David Price or Roberto Hernandez, which is good news / bad news on the "what if" scale.

It looks like a tough week ahead for the Yankees. But they are all tough at this point with the team being stuck with the offense they have. Watching the games with lowered expectations helps. And lowered expectations is where it is at right now.

Have a good Yankees week everybody.