While the question marks in the Yankees rotation have the potential to doom them come October, their offense is doing a nice job of diverting everyone's attention for the moment.
Facing one of the best pitchers in the majors this season in Oakland's Trevor Cahill last night, the Yankees' high-powered lineup broke out for another high-scoring victory, which has been typical of late.
Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Marcus Thames hit home runs - it marked Thames' sixth home run in his last five starts - as the Yankees cruised to an 11-5 win over the Athletics, their third straight victory.
Cano, Thames and Nick Swisher each drove in three runs as the Yankees scored at least nine runs for the seventh time in their last 12 games.
The star of the Yankees' offensive breakout of late has been Thames, who has helped make Alex Rodriguez's stay on the disabled list a non-factor by going 9-for-20 in his last five starts.
"Marcus has been huge for us in the absence of some of our guys," manager Joe Girardi said.
Javier Vazquez (10-9), pitching in his new role as a long reliever, got the victory. He replaced the ineffective Dustin Moseley with one out in the fifth and finished the game, allowing one run in 42/3 innings.
The Tampa Bay Rays also won, beating the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-2, so the Yankees and Rays remained tied atop the American League East for the eighth straight day. The teams also increased their lead over the idle Red Sox to seven games.
The Yankees may not have a sure thing in their rotation at the moment aside from CC Sabathia, but it's certainly not having much of an effect on their regular-season success. Not with the way they're hitting. And it doesn't even matter who's pitching, apparently.
Cahill (14-6) entered the game very much in the discussion for American League Cy Young candidates, having held opponents to a league-best .201 average. But the Yankees knocked the A's righthander around for eight runs and nine hits in just four-plus innings.
The A's even handed Cahill a three-run lead before the Yankees came to bat in the first, a lead that probably would have indicated victory for Oakland on most nights with their ace on the mound. But on this night, the lead lasted for all of five hitters.
The Yankees responded with three runs in the bottom of the first, including a two-run double by Cano, and took the lead two innings later on back-to-back homers by Cano and Teixeira.
"It always feels better when we do that in a win," said Cano, whose 26th home run marked a career high.
The No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters - Teixeira, Cano, Swisher - went 9-for-11 with three doubles, two homers and seven RBIs.
Moseley has been serviceable in place of the injured Andy Pettitte for the most part, but he struggled last night. He allowed four runs and five hits and walked four in 41/3 innings.
It was still a competitive game entering the bottom of the fifth, with the Yankees ahead 6-4. But they broke it open with a five-run inning - scoring all five with none out - that was capped by a monstrous three-run homer by Thames off Henry Rodriguez.
"I know I'm not going to be in there every day once Alex gets back," Thames said, "but I'm just trying to do my part and help the ballclub out."