Whatever Goes Wrong, Yankees Still End Up on Top - NBC New York

Whatever Goes Wrong, Yankees Still End Up on Top

A first half filled with negatives winds up with 50th win of the year



    Whatever Goes Wrong, Yankees Still End Up on Top
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    Happy 10th.

    Phil Hughes didn't pitch well and Mariano Rivera blew a save.

    Yankee base runners got gunned down on the base paths with the frequency of deer on the first day of hunting season and Jorge Posada left another game with an injury.

     And yet, working from this recipe for disaster, the Yankees wrapped up the first half of their season by securing win number 50 on Marcus Thames's 10th inning single. 

    It probably surprises you to learn that that's a better record than the Yankees had at this point in 2009. How could this year's edition possibly be ahead of that pace when they've dealt with so much going wrong across the first 81 games? 

    Because of injuries, they haven't played more than a handful of games with the lineup they thought they would be deploying on an everyday basis. They've seen two starters suffer through months of disastrous outings and, in Hughes, a third who seems to be having trouble refining his approach enough to ensure continued success. They've gotten much less than expected from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, although the first baseman seems to be in the early stages of a torrid streak, and nearly nothing from any of the free agents brought in over the winter.

    Again, it smells like disaster is cooking, but, just as they did on Sunday, the Yankee kitchen has found ways to keep churning out five-star meals. And, in the end, those results are all that matter. The Yankees certainly aren't going to get sympathy points from anyone and they aren't asking for them. They know that they need to win without any regard to the circumstances surrounding those victories.

    Regardless of any context or statistics, all anyone would have asked for the first half is that the Yankees have the best record in baseball when it is over. That's exactly what has happened, which is fairly remarkable when you take all of the circumstances into account.  It's also awfully reassuring unless you think that things are going to get even worse for the Yankees over the next 81 games.

    It could happen but you'd probably find bets with shorter odds on the big board.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.