For the Yankees, Trouble is a Relative Term

Melky Cabrera's return to the Bronx was ruined.

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, May 11, 2011  |  Updated 9:20 AM EDT
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For the Yankees, Trouble is a Relative Term

AP

Jeter stifles a yawn while going about his business.

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It would be wrong to say that Tuesday night's 3-1 victory over the Royals was totally devoid of excitement.

There was the moment when the Bleacher Creatures welcomed Melky Cabrera back to the Bronx with a mention in the roll call, a nice moment of recognition for a player who hasn't been missed all that much since leaving town. He was a big part of a title team, though, and it was nice to see that hasn't been forgotten.

David Robertson also walked into a situation that got hearts pounding when Joe Girardi summoned him with two on and none out in the seventh. He wound up loading the bases, but struck out two batters to end the threat and make the Yankee victory academic. 

A full accounting of memorable moments must include Nick Swisher's nice diving catch, Derek Jeter moving two hits closer to 3,000 and a timely single for Alex Rodriguez. Somehow, though, the total wound up being less than the sum of its parts.

Maybe its because the Royals were on the other side of the field. Even with their record over .500 for the season, it has been 30-odd years since a visit from K.C. elicited much reaction from the faithful. 

More likely it is the seeming inevitability of the Yankee win on a night when things looked stacked against them.

There's been much hand wringing about the problems with the Yankee lineup this season, but A-Rod's game-breaking hit in the fifth inning served as a reminder of the relativity of all that worry. Rodriguez has been in a brutal slump and didn't exactly knock the cover off the ball on his two-run single but he still got the hit that wound up winning the game.

It has been that way most of the season for the Yankees. There's always someone to come up with the big hit when the team needs one, which is a nice state of affairs to keep the ball rolling until the big bats get loose.

Rafael Soriano was unavailable Tuesday night because of an elbow problem that's going to require an MRI on Wednesday. That's the kind of loss that would crush many teams, but the Yankees turned to Robertson and Joba Chamberlain for six big outs without blinking an eye.

We're ignoring some stuff from last night, namely a good start by Freddy Garcia that made all the other stuff possible, but the point remains that the Yankees are good enough to keep winning when operating at less than 100 percent. Those wins might wind up being on the routine or mundane side, but style points only matter in figure skating.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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