If you want to know what life brings you as a fan of these 2010 Yankees, consider Thursday.
The game's highest-paid catcher screwed up, only to be bailed out by the game's highest-paid starting pitcher, the game's highest-paid position player and the game's highest-paid closer.
"I was the happiest," Jorge Posada said with a smile after the Yankees ended their two-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Mariners at Yankee Stadium.
(For the record, Posada will make $13.1 million this year to Joe Mauer's $12.5 million, and then Mauer leapfrogs over Posada in 2011.)
It's days like this that make you realize the Yankees, like another New York institution, are too big to fail. Unlike Wall Street, however, these baseball bigwigs don't need government handouts - well, you know, now that the new Stadium is open for business.
Sure, you never know what the playoffs and their small sample sizes will bring. Until October, however . . . if you're a Yankees fan, all anxiety must be manufactured. Losing games to Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez doesn't constitute a crisis.
"Nothing shocks me now with this team," said winning pitcher CC Sabathia, the aforementioned highest-paid starting pitcher. "After doing what they did to [Dodgers closer Jonathan] Broxton, coming back in L.A. . . . we have a lot of confidence in our guys. It's just another example of how good our team is."
The Red Sox seem to be losing a player a day to the disabled list; Thursday marked Manny Delcarmen's turn, as the righthanded reliever went down with a right forearm strain. The Rays appear completely declawed from the dynamo that visited Yankee Stadium back in May. As the American League stands now, it's reasonable to wonder if the wild-card spot will open up to clubs from the other two divisions.
The Yankees? At 48-30, they owned the game's best record (Texas entered its late game at the Angels with a 47-30 mark), and they figure to have more coming from many of their established players.
After Posada's eighth-inning passed ball put the Mariners in position to tie the score on Russell Branyan's two-run single, Alex Rodriguez, the aforementioned highest-paid position player, hit a go-ahead two-run homer off Seattle's David Aardsma in the bottom of the eighth and noted afterward that the team's offense has been "here and there." That feels like a proper assessment, and the Yankees nevertheless finished their day with 417 runs, second best in the majors heading into that Rangers-Angels tilt.
Robinson Cano continued his monster season, blasting a solo homer off Mariners lefthander Ryan Rowland-Smith in the fourth. Cano leads all major-league hitters with 10 homers off lefty pitchers, and in accordance with that, with A-Rod on second and two outs in the sixth, Rowland-Smith intentionally walked the lefthanded-hitting Cano to go after the switch-hitting Posada, no slouch himself.
The Yankees have Cano, undisputedly their most valuable player this season, partly because of luck; neither the Rangers nor the Diamondbacks wanted him as a minor-leaguer in 2004 trade proposals involving A-Rod and Randy Johnson, respectively. But the Yankees also exhibited patience when they held on to Cano after his miserable 2008 season rather than selling low.
And how did Cano become so good at hitting lefties? Look at his career numbers and you can see the correlation between the arrival of respected hitting coach Kevin Long in 2007 and the ability to hit southpaws.
Never have the Yankees and their $206-million payroll appeared more imposing. If they're not getting value for every dollar they spend, they're closer than ever.
Lee? He's great, but the Yankees have to be World Series favorites as is. Only desperate teams pay a high price for a half-season rental, and these Yankees are anything but desperate.
No, in this baseball environment, they seem as unshakable as Mariano Rivera, the aforementioned highest-paid closer. If you're a Yankees fan and you're whining, it says more about you than your beloved team.