Rocky Road

            I’ve already admitted I’m the biggest loser in the world.  Anybody who lets something as silly as a baseball team affect their moods and their disposition is just an idiot.  I really don’t know how else to put it.  But that’s me.

            These days my stomach gets tight before I ever turn on the TV.  I suppose a trip out to Anaheim will do that to you.  This is about the time of the year when I start griping that MLB, always acting in the best interests of the bottom line, sticks the Yankees with ten games against the Angels every year.  The Angels are the only team on the schedule outside of the division that you can mark down for ten games every single year.  In fact, they are the only team outside the division that the Yankees face ten times ever.  I’ve said this a million times.  This is no coincidence, guys.  MLB understands that these are marquee teams, and in the salad days of the Yankees the last few years, the Angels were just what the doctor ordered – a team that owned every pinstripe on the Yankees’ backs.  So you can be sure that Texas was only going to get 7 games against the Yanks but the Angels were going to get 10.  So now that my gripe is out of the way, let’s look at what happened.

            The futility with runners in scoring position is getting to the point of otherworldly.  And as I’ve said, the only measure we’ve got is the pathetic batting average with RISP.  But it’s so wildly lacking in telling the whole story.  The awful Melky Cabrera (I’m going to come back to him) comes up with runners on first and third with one out tonight.  He swings at the first pitch (shocking) and hits into a double play.  That counts as 0-1 with RISP, but it was a bone crushing two outs recorded with one swing, and even worse, the first swing.  And the Yankees are legendary for it.  They will have a pitcher on the ropes at 70 pitches in the third inning, and will swing at the first pitch and give him two outs.  This bails him out of two jams – the one where he’s got a runner on third with less than two out and the one where his pitch count is out of control and he’s staring at a fifth inning shower.  Yup.  That’s where we are.  The Yankees are so bad at something, there isn’t a stat that’s descriptive enough to capture it.  And there’s one other useless stat.  Ken Singleton on Sunday afternoon put a number to the recent suffering of Yankee fans.  The Yankees are less than 60% in getting the runner in from third with less than two out,” he said.  What?!  Less than 60%?  If you’re dumb enough to watch every Yankee game, like I am, you wouldn’t have signed up for that number being any higher than 15%.  Where the h*ll is he getting “less than 60%?”  And then you realize what comprises that useless stat.  That includes all of the garbage time blowouts when the Yankees actually do put a ton of runs on the board.  Like the 7 run outburst against LA at the Stadium last week.  Yes, it’s true.  They got lots of runs home from 3rd with less than two outs.  And it was all window dressing.  Nothing that did us any good.  But it pads the stats and makes a dumb number even dumber.  Show me how many times they’ve gotten it done when it counted.

            I’m going to say something stupid.  I honestly don’t remember the last time the Yankees hit a sac fly.  And I’m not trying to be funny, or to exaggerate.  I honestly do not remember.  It really is something.

            I have to tell you.  Joe Girardi is not impressing me as a playoff-run manager.  In fairness, Joe Torre never impressed me in that regard either, but Girardi is making me sick.  Kudos to Michael Kay on the YES broadcast tonight asking why Girardi, so adamant in the pre-game that “every game is crucial right now,” goes out tonight and sits Johnny Damon and Jason Giambi down.  Giambi is an easy one.  I said when the Yankees got Sexon that my one fear with getting Sexon is that they’re going to play him.  And by that I didn’t mean that I didn’t like the move, believe it or not.  I meant that you need to recognize him for what he is.  He is a pinch hitter to face a lefty specialist.  And a late-inning defensive replacement.  That’s it.  I meant that you cannot start platooning him with Giambi.  You can’t sit Giambi down.  He’s too important to the lineup, as even when he’s making out, it’s a tough out.  He takes a lot of pitches, and on this free-swinging team, you can’t afford to sacrifice that.  When Giambi isn’t in the line-up, pitchers go deep in games against the Yankees.  Count on it.  So what does Girardi do?  Ughh.

                Here is the crux of my problem.  The Yankees are in the last leg of a grueling stretch of 20 games that will decide whether or not they will have a shot at making up the distance to a playoff spot.  Knowing this, Girardi unnecessarily pencils three outs into the lineup last night, and he pencils three outs into the lineup tonight.  And he pencils in one or two almost every night.  First, yesterday.  Sexon, Justin Christian, Molina.  We’ve talked about Sexon.  Justin Christian is not a major league hitter.  He cannot be in the lineup.  He’s a pinch runner.  And why was Pudge not playing?  Is he still hurt?  I didn’t see anything to that effect in the news.  The Yankees got Pudge not because they were afraid Molina couldn’t hold up to the rigors of being the starter.  They got Pudge because he’s hitting .293, and Molina’s hitting .220.  So why was Girardi putting Molina out there on Sunday?  So tonight Girardi gets a little smarter and sits Molina.  But he still played Sexon, Christian, and Melky.  And what was the result of those combined three spots in the order for those two games?  How about 1-17 with 6 strikeouts and 8 men left on base?  How does that sound?  Good?

            So here’s my next question?  Is Johnny Damon hurt?  I get that he can’t throw the ball very hard.  What else is new.  But us he legitimately hurt?  Because if not, he needs to be in the lineup and in center field every single day, period.  I don’t care that he can’t throw.  He’s leading AL in hitting, guys.  Why is he sitting?  Nady plays left, Damon plays center, and Abreu plays right.  Every day.  Pudge catches every day that Moose doesn’t pitch.  And Giambi plays first base every day.  If you want to DH Giambi and use Sexon at first against a lefty, fine.  But you can’t sit Giambi.  In that line-up, Sexon becomes your eight or nine hitter.  Where he belongs.  Certainly not sixth or something outrageous like that.  You want to use Betemit on the other days, fine.  Melky is not a major league hitter.  He needs to go.  Brett Gardiner is a better option as a pinch runner and defensive replacement, because that’s all Melky gives you.

            I said this last week, and I’ll reiterate it now.  I’m not inside Melky’s head, but I’ll tell you what it looks like from my perspective.  Melky Cabrera does not share the same goals as his teammates.  Melky is desperately trying to save his hanging-on-by-a-thread career, and to do that he needs to get his batting average up at all costs.  And when the Yankees need him to be selective, take a pitch, let a pitcher walk him, move a runner over, etc, he can’t afford to do it.  He needs to get hits to bring his average up.  And the best pitches to do that are often early in the count.  So he’s going to be up there swinging.  Every single time.  And that’s not going to help the team.  You’re better off bringing up Brett Gardiner as a pinch runner and defensive specialist, because Melky is a rally cancer right now, and probably will be for the rest of the season.   

            I have so much more, but I’m going to give it a rest. 

            Seannie!! Your boy!!

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8 comments

  1. mikeeff

    girardi’s line up would have been fine–if we were leading the division and he wanted keep the players fresh– there was no excuse for it tonight. damon and giambi’s #s against lefties are fine-better than fine–yet he manages to find a spot everyday for the utterly worthless melky. i pray i never see him again after this september.

    yeah- they’ve had more than their fair share of injuries–but in my opinion a manager is there to inspire his team and get them to play at their highest level- i’d say girardi has failed miserably at that. these guys, with a very few exceptions seem to be phoning it in-cano is a disgrace–now his D is worse than his at bats–he never dives for a ball–has anyone noticed that? look at the final nail against the angels–cano lazily watches the ball go by as the meathead wanders back to 1st base…you think dougie M would let that ball go by? well i could go on..but why bother?

  2. rasmussen.william@gmail.com

    I agree that Melky should go, and that JD should be playing every day. Their RISP problem isn’t new – it just seems that it’s worse this year (and it is). So why are we 9 games out?
    I can’t put a finger on it. But maybe we can figure it out by looking at the line up : Jeter. Not his usual clutch self. Why? Cano. Not agressive in the field, and where’s the .300 average? Nady. Impresses me. A good stick. Abreau. (sp) OK, but he won’t hit a wall even if it meant winning the WS. Allie. Hits bombs with the bases empty. If they win the wild card, he’ll be a bust again. Why does everybody think he’s the best player in baseball? He has RISP written on this forehead. ‘stash. Having a good year. Should be playing every day. Pudge. Should be playing every day. So we have 2/3 of a good outfield offensively, and 3/5 of the infield not reliable with the stick, and the other 2/5 (who ARE good sticks) playing half the time.

    Think Girardi wants to really win this thing?

    With the state of our SP staff, ‘stch, JD, Pudge should be playing every day. And whoever the hitting coach is, he should be working with Jeter, Allie, Cano to find out what happened to their clutch game. Plus, Melky should go. Package him and Kennedy for a decent arm. Hell, Melky seems happy go lucky, and Kennedy doesn’t have any hunger. Both are worthless to this club.

    Hate to say it, but they were better off with Torre (and this comes from someone who thought he should, in all due respects to him, go……)

    Too bad we have a team like this to close down The Stadium. If The Boss had his health, this club would have a fire lit under it’s ***.

    Ras #45

  3. mikeeff

    you’re right ras–if the boss had his heath girardi would have OUT the door–at the very latest on monday after the sweep in anaheim–if not then, certainly when he put his B team on the field last night.

  4. skysurfer172@gmail.com

    kinda sucks that Hal is already talking about next year in the papers this morning. What is he doing, publicly hammering his last nails into the coffin of the 08 Yankees?

    We can still make the playoffs!! right?

  5. jboogie

    Girardi has been killing this team lately. One stupid decision after another. He’d so be gone if George were healthy. Ah, I miss those days.

    J-Boogie

    http://boogiedownbaseball.blogspot.com

    oh, i just noticed the link to my site on the side is outdated. If you’d change it, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

  6. reidsmith

    “In in other news, Joe Girardi is fired, and a man named “Geoff” replaces him. What do you think of this late season replacement, Ken?”

    I say we go for it. Whatever your current day job is, Geoff, you are clearly over-qualified for it. You belong in the Yankees’ Dugout. Every day.

    Keep it up man – AWESOME stuff.

    Reid
    http://theangrybenchcoach.com

  7. time2gojoe@gmail.com

    I haven’t posted in a while, mostly because I have been so angry about this season. But now I feel like I can share..

    I have always been a Melky fan. I thought he brought something to the team, a certain kind of energy, that was lacking. I think one of the biggest problems for him is his confidence. And when you are consistently hearing your name mentioned in trade rumors all off season and again during the season, it has to effect how you play. I think he is a much better hitter than he has shown to be this season. And somehow, Joe Torre was able to bring that out of him. I am sorry, but all of the woes and problems of a team with a $200 million payroll should NOT rest on Melky’s shoulders. And that is precisely what everyone in the media has been doing. But as everyone here has mentioned, there are many culprits as to why this team is under-performing. A Rod, Jeter, Cano to name a few, and then the injuries.

    And then there is the Manager. I am sooo glad I didn’t retire this screen name. He has shown me nothing this entire season. He has made so many head scratching moves, that it makes me wonder if he is trying to do something big just to make his mark, and each and every move has backfired on him. I have been feeling lower and lower about this team each and every day. But when I turned on the game and saw Damon out of the lineup AND saw Girardi’s terse response as to why he was sitting him, I finally gave up. And I have not watched a single second of a game since. I think I just might be done.

    One last note about the lineups. Boston trots out basically the same line up night after night. Yes, they have some changes, but overall their lineup is the same night after night. Why can’t we do the same? Makes no sense to a silly girl like me.. what do I know, right?

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