Whatever the Problems, Yankees Keep On Trucking

Defensive miscues can't stop Yanks from taking three of four in Boston

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Andruw Jones is just one reason to keep the complaints to yourself.

    Certain Yankee fans and observers always seize on the negative when it comes to the team's performance.

    Winning eight of nine games might satisfy some souls, but those doomsayers see the loss as the only thing that matters and make it the centerpiece of their thoughts about the team. This year's team has given that group plenty of fodder, right up to Sunday night's 7-3 win in Boston.

    There's been the season-long issue of hitting with runners in scoring position, something that didn't get any better against the Red Sox. They were 3-for-14 in those situations on Sunday night, something that kept a comfortable victory from turning into a rout and made a four-hour game a lot less enjoyable to watch.

    For the glass is half full crowd, the team's inability to hit in those situations matters much more than the fact that they are hitting home runs by the bushel. They hit eight of them at Fenway, a big factor in why the Yankees won three of the four games this weekend even as they missed plenty of other scoring opportunities.

    Complaints about the Yankees don't stop there. The defense was atrocious all week, right up to Derek Jeter dropping a simple pop-up early on Sunday night, and the relievers walked six batters in three innings to push the game even deeper into the evening as the Red Sox gave no indication that they wanted to win the game.

    Everyone would like to see a team fire on all cylinders, but it feels more than a little greedy to hunt for flaws in this Yankees team when their victorious end to the first half leaves them with the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star break. You need only look at the Red Sox infield at the end of Sunday night (Mauro Gomez, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Aviles, Nick Punto) to see what it looks like when things have really gone wrong on the field.

    The Yankees might have room to improve, but is that really the thing you take away from watching Robinson Cano continue his assault on the MVP award by getting a hit in a 15th straight game? Ivan Nova struck out ten on Sunday night with a filthy breaking ball doing the most damage and he's gone on a hot streak just as the team lost CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte to injury.

    That depth exists in the lineup -- Andruw Jones hit four home runs in the three games played Saturday and Sunday -- and the entire roster has contributed to this Yankees team much more than in years past. They've gone 31-12 since dropping to 21-21, the kind of run that winds up winning you a division when October rolls around. 

    It won't satisfy those who see only the things you do wrong, but those whose worldview is not tinged with eternal sadness have to be pretty thrilled with the way things have played out for the Yankees thus far and just as excited about what looms around the corner.

    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.